NEWS: SSC names short track teams for World Cups in Japan & China

OTTAWA Speed Skating Canada announced today the short track teams competing in the third and fourth World Cups of the season. The 2011-12 schedule continues next month in Nagoya, Japan, from Dec. 2-4, and in Shanghai, China, the following weekend, Dec. 9-11. (ISU results website)

Highlighting the squad are three men and two women who took part in the first two World Cups of the season in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Saguenay, Que., during the last two weekends of October.

Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, Que., leads the way with six medals won from the two first events of the season. Hamelin took gold in the 1,500 metres and the relay in Salt Lake City and the 1,000 metres in Saguenay, silver in the 500-metre races in each World Cup and a relay bronze medal in the second competition.

Michael Gilday of Yellowknife continues his season, having skated the 500 metres, 1,500 metres and relay in Salt Lake City, and the 1,000-metre, 1,500-metre and relay in Saguenay. He took his first individual medal of the season in Saguenay, with silver in the 1,000 metres. He also captured gold and bronze in the relay races.

In his first event of the season in Saguenay, Oliver Jean of Lachenaie, Que., won three medals – gold in the first 500 metres, and bronze in the 1,000 metres and relay.

On the women’s side, Caroline Truchon of Chicoutimi, Que., and Gabrielle Waddell of Red Deer, Alta., continue their season, having competed at the first two World Cups. Truchon had a career best World Cup competition in the 500 metres in Saguenay with a fourth place finish. She won a silver medal with the relay team. Waddell competed in all three distances over the first two events, recording a career best ninth place in the 500 metres in Saguenay.

Rounding out the six-man team are national team member Rémi Beaulieu of Alma, Que., Alexandre St. Jean of Quebec City from the development team and Charle Cournoyer of Longueuil, Que., from the talent squad.

Joining Truchon and Waddell in Japan and China are development team members Vanessa Bélanger-Marceau of Loretteville, Que., Sabrina Bourgela of Montreal, Kasandra Bradette of St. Félicien, Que., and Andréa Do-Duc of Montreal.

As was planned in September, seven athletes who competed in the second World Cup have determined with their coaches to focus their upcoming training towards the January Canadian Championships, which includes the selections for the last two World Cups in February and world championship in March. Those skaters include Marianne St. Gelais of St. Félicien, Que., Valérie Maltais of La Baie, Que., Marie-Eve Drolet of Chicoutimi, Que., and Jessica Hewitt of Kamloops, B.C., and on the men’s side, Guillaume Bastille of Rivière-du-Loup, Que., François Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, Que., and François-Louis Tremblay of Alma, Que.

Keeping in line with objectives for the season, the short track high performance committee looked to provide more skaters with opportunities in international competition, thereby continuing to build on their performance profile.

Women for World Cups 3 and 4: Vanessa Bélanger-Marceau (Loretteville, Que.), Sabrina Bourgela (Montreal), Kasandra Bradette (St. Félicien, Que.), Andréa Do-Duc (Montreal), Caroline Truchon (Chicoutimi, Que.), Gabrielle Waddell (Red Deer, Alta.).

Men for World Cups 3 and 4: Rémi Beaulieu (Alma, Que.), Charle Cournoyer (Longueuil, Que.), Michael Gilday (Yellowknife), Charles Hamelin (Sainte-Julie, Que.), Oliver Jean (Lachenaie, Que.), Alexandre St. Jean (Quebec City).

After two short track events this season, the World Cup Podium Tracker by Intact Insurance is up to $14,000 (8 gold, 5 silver, 1 bronze). Intact Insurance will award $1,000 in cash and prizes to a local speed skating club with each individual medal win. Last season, Intact Insurance awarded more than $50,000 in cash and prizes.

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