Strong start for Canadian rookie on short track speed skating World Cup circuit

HARBIN, China – Alex Boisvert-Lacroix of Sherbrooke, Que., made an impressive international debut on Friday as he qualified for the 1,500 semifinals and 500 quarterfinals as the short track speed skating World Cup season got underway.

Boisvert-Lacroix, 20, highlighted a strong showing for the Canadian men who advanced their three entries in the opening heats of each of the four races being contested this weekend as well as the relay. Last month at the selection trials in Calgary, Boisvert-Lacroix was the surprise qualifier for the World Cup team.

‘’I was feeling pretty stressed about this first day of competition,’’ said Boisvert-Lacroix. ‘’I wasn’t sure about the logistics of the competition and I didn’t know my opposition at all. There were a lot of things to think about.’’

Boisvert-Lacroix won his 500 preliminary and opening round heats and also advanced to the semifinals in the 1,500 finishing third in his heat.

‘’In the end it went really well. I’m really satisfied with what I accomplished today. The 500, which is my best event, were really fast races and I felt in control.’’

Here is how the Canadians fared by distance on Friday:

In the 500, Boisvert-Lacroix, Charles Hamelin of Ste-Julie, Que., and François-Louis Tremblay of Montreal all advanced on the men’s side as did Kalyna Roberge of Ste-Etienne-de-Lauzon, Que., Anne Maltais of Quebec City and Jessica Gregg of Edmonton for the women.

In the 1,000, Tremblay, Steve Robillard of Montreal and Marc-André Monette of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., all won their respective preliminary and first round heats to advance to the quarterfinals. Tania Vicent of Verchères, Que., and Amanda Overland of Montreal, went through for the women while Andréa Do-Duc of Montreal is headed to the repechage.

There are two 1,500-metre events slated for this weekend.

In the first 1,500, Boisvert-Lacroix, Hamelin and Mathieu Giroux of Montreal advanced while for the women Roberge is in the semis with Maltais and Gregg headed to the repechage.

In the second 1,500, all the Canadians are through with Robillard, Giroux and Monette for the men and Do-Duc, Overland and Vicent for the women.

Canada also advanced to the semifinals in both the men’s and women’s relays.