Drolet wins women’s 1,500-metre bronze medal

Drolet wins women’s 1,500-metre bronze medal at 2012 World Short Track Championships
Hamelin and Jean finish just of the podium in men’s final

– Marie-Ève Drolet of Laterrière, Que., was the lone Canadian to step on the podium today in winning the bronze medal in the 1,500 metres at the 2012 ISU World Short Track Championships in Shanghai, China. In the men’s 1,500-metre final, Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, Que., and Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, Que., finished just off the podium in fourth and fifth, respectively.

The world championships began today with the men’s and women’s 1,500 metres and women’s relay semifinals.

Drolet, 30, skated to third place in today’s eight-woman final in two minutes and 23.474 seconds. She was only 0.063 seconds behind Chinese skaters Quihong Lui for the silver medal and 0.257 seconds from the champion, Jianrou Li. Drolet reached the final placing second in both her first race and her semifinal heat.

“The final was quite different (than the semifinal) because there were eight skaters (instead of the usual six),” said Drolet. “For sure my coach Sebastien (Cros) and I thought I absolutely had to stay among the top three because there were so many skaters. I’m very happy with my third place finish.”

The last Canadian woman to win a medal in the 1,500 metres was Alanna Krauss during the 2003-04 season. She also won the bronze medal.

The other Canadian women competing in this year’s individual distances, Valérie Maltais of La Baie, Que., was second in her first 1,500-metre race, but finished fifth in her semifinal. The 21-year-old finished 13th overall.

In the seven-man 1,500-metre final, South Korea swept the podium with Jinkyu Noh winning gold in a time of two minutes and 15.661 seconds, followed by Yoon-Gy Kwak (2:15.755) and Da Woon Sin (2:15.861). Hamelin, 27, was only 0.083 seconds from the bronze finishing in fourth place (2:15.944) and 27-year-old Jean was in fifth spot (2:16.373).

Guillaume Bastille of Rivière-du-Loup, Que., finished ninth overall in the 1,500 metres after failing to reach the final. The 26-year-old won his first race of the day, but finished third in his semifinal race.

In the women’s semifinal relay, Canada qualified for Sunday’s final by finishing second in a time of four minutes and 13.961 seconds behind China (4:13.855). Italy was third and Russia skated to fourth place. Maltais and Drolet were joined by Marianne St. Gelais of St. Félicien, Que., and Caroline Truchon of Chicoutimi, Que., for the relay.

Saturday’s races will feature the 500 metres and men’s relay semifinals. The 1,000 and Super 3,000 metres and the relay finals will take place Sunday.

CBC TV World Championships broadcast schedule:
Saturday, March 10, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. (also online at CBCSports.ca)
Sunday, March 11, 1:30 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.