Hamelin & Roberge unbeatable at nationals

Olympic medallists Charles Hamelin of Ste-Julie, Que., and Kalyna Roberge of Ste-Etienne-de-Lauzon, Que., were unbeatable this weekend at the Canadian Open in short track speed skating. The pair completed a golden sweep on Saturday with victories in their respective 1,000 metre races and will headline Canada’s team for the world championships in March.

In the men’s 1,000 final, Hamelin took the gold in 1:27.880 with Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, Que., second in 1:27.953 and Marc-Andre Monette of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., third in 1:28.079.

The world championship selection process for the men and women took into account the Open and the first selection trials in November. Based on those results, Hamelin was first overall at 4,271 points with five wins in six races over the two meets.

“I’m going to prepare for the worlds, the same way I prepared for this weekend,” said Hamelin. “The main thing I want to work on is some race strategies. I was pleased with how I raced this weekend. I was fast from the start, got the lead early and was able to keep ahead.”

Jean was second at 2,362, Francois-Louis Tremblay of Montreal third at 2,300, Jean-Francois Monette of Ponte-aux-Trembles fourth at 2,168, Marc-Andre Monette fifth at 1,600, Mathieu Giroux of Montreal sixth at 1,031 and Michael Gilday of Yellowknife seventh at 983. The top-six earn a berth on the world team with the top-two guaranteed to race all the individual events.

In the women’s 1,000, Roberge completed a perfect performance clocking 1:36.282 with Valerie Maltais of Saguenay, Que., second in 1:36.641 and Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa third in 1:37.134.

In the overall standings, Roberge won all six races over the two sets of trials for 4,500 points. Anne Maltais of Quebec City was second at 2,600, Plamondon third at 1,960, Nita Avrith of Montreal fourth at 1,658, Blondin fifth at 1,637 and Valerie Maltais sixth at 1,563.

“I’m excited about heading to the worlds as the top Canadian,” said Roberge, 20. “It’s an important role and I want to do well. But I’m not going to put extra pressure on myself. I was extremely pleased with racing here but there’s definitely some technical aspects in my skating that I need to work on.”

Veteran Amanda Overland of Montreal did not compete this weekend due to injury and received a bye to the world team. The top-five gain a spot on the world team.

The world team will also compete at the final World Cup next month in Europe as well as at the world team championships which follow the world championships.