Olivier Jean keeps winning streak alive at Canada Post Open Championships

Olivier Jean of Lachenaie, Que., started the Canada Post Open Championships which also serves as the second short track speed skating national team trials in a familiar position on Friday with a victory in the men’s 1,500 metres.

At the first trials in December, Jean swept all four races to take a strong lead for one of the two spots up for grabs for next year’s national squad. The first six spots belong to this year’s Olympic team members. On Friday, Jean finished ahead of Mathieu Giroux of Montreal and Marc-André Monette of Pointe-aux-Trembles.

‘’It’s very enjoyable to win and I hope to keep on winning,’’ said Jean, a 21-year-old ecology student. ‘’I didn’t have a great semifinal but I was pleased with how I came back put it together for the final. I think my experience has really kicked in this season and it shows with my race strategies.’’

In the women’s 1,500, Annick Plamondon of Longeuil, Que., who stood third overall after the first trials, posted the victory with Nita Avrith of Montreal second while Raphaelle Lemieux of Riviere-du-Loup, Que., the overall leader after the first trials, took third.

‘’I was really pleased with how I came through tactically and physically today,’’ said Plamondon, who has been battered by the flu bug this winter. ‘’In the final I really kept my focus and I was surprised with how steady my pace was. I gained the lead relatively early in the race (with four laps to go) and my acceleration was really good which kept me out of trouble.’’

The competition, which also determines next season’s national development team, continues through to Sunday.