Canadians head to finals at short track speed skating team worlds

BEIJING- Charles Hamelin of Ste-Julie, Que., won all his races to help Canada advance directly to the men’s final while the Canadian women are also in the medal hunt after winning the repechage at the short track speed skating world team championships.

In men’s competition, Canada qualified directly to the final by placing first in its bracket in the morning preliminaries with 48 points. China was second at 38 while Britain and Russia tied at 17. South Korea advanced directly through the other bracket while China and the U.S., also made the finals by placing 1-2 in the evening repechage.
In the team event, there are heats in the 500, and 1,000, with one entry per country, one 3,000 metre race with two entries per country and a relay. The winner in each heat earns five points for his or her country, second place three points and third place one. Relay points are doubled.

In men’s competition, Hamelin won his heats in the 500, 1,000 and 3,000-metre then helped Canada to victory in the relay with his brother François Hamelin, Steve Robillard of Montreal and Jean-François Monette of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que.

Also in the 1,000, Robillard won his heat, Monette was second and his brother Marc-André Monette fourth. In the 500, François Hamelin also won his heat, Jean-François Monette was second and Robillard third. Marc-André Monette was third in the 3,000.

‘’We had a scare that we might have been disqualified in the relay,’’ said Yves Hamelin, Speed Skating Canada’s short track program director. ‘’They reviewed a passing manoeuvre by Jean-François but after the officials deliberated the results stood. If we had been disqualified China would have placed first.

‘’The team event is a very demanding competition and to advance directly to the final is a big advantage.’’

In women’s competition, China and South Korea advanced directly to the final by winning their respective brackets in the preliminaries. Canada was second to China in the prelims. Then in the repechage Canada took top spot at 46 points while the U.S., earned 29 as both countries advanced to the final four.

In the repechage, Kalyna Roberge of Ste-Etienne-de-Lauzon, Que., and Tania Vicent of Vercheres, Que., posted victories in their respective 1,000-metre heats. Amanda Overland of Montreal was second and Anne Maltais of Quebec City third.
Roberge and Jessica Gregg of Edmonton were winners in their respective 500 heats with Vicent and Maltais posting second and third place finishes. Roberge and Overland were third and seventh in the 3,000. Canada won the relay to beat the U.S., for top spot.

In the opening round, Meng Wang of China broke the world record in the 1,000 clocking 1:29.495. Roberge was second in the race, also under the former mark, in 1:29.630. Roberge appeared in top form after injuring her knee last weekend at the individual worlds.

‘’Kalyna underwent two days of treatment on her knee this week and appears to have made a full recovery,’’ said Hamelin. ‘’She skated very well today and should be ready to face an even tougher challenge in the final.’’

Last year, Canada won the gold in men’s competition while the Canadian women were third.

The finals are on Sunday.