Yellowknife’s Michael Gilday advances in two events at short track speed skating World Cup

Michael Gilday, Photo: Arno Hoogveld
KOBE, Japan – Canadian short track speed skater Michael Gilday is flying fast these days.

The 20-year-old from Yellowknife, who arrived here as an injury replacement earlier this week, qualified for the quarterfinals in the men’s 1,000 and 1,500 metre races on Friday to open the second stop on the short track speed skating World Cup circuit.

Gilday arrived in Japan on Tuesday as a replacement for Mathieu Giroux of Montreal who injured his ankle last week at the season opener in Harbin, China. This is becoming a memorable month for Gilday who broke the world record in the 1,000 at a meet in Calgary two weeks ago.

‘’Arriving late like that I really didn’t know what to expect,’’ said Gilday, 20, who raced in two World Cup events last season. ‘’I only had one practice and didn’t really have a chance to get to the ice. Still it went well and every time I went on the ice I felt more and more comfortable.’’

Canadian national coach Martin Gagné was impressed with Gilday’s performance. ‘’It’s hard to believe he only arrived over here a couple of days ago.’’

All the Canadian men advanced directly to the quarterfinals in Friday’s qualifying. In the 1,500 it was Gilday, Marc-André Monette of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que., and Steve Robillard of Montreal. In the 500, Robillard, Alex Boisvert-Lacroix of Sherbrooke, Que., and François-Louis Tremblay of Montreal.

There are two 1,000 races this weekend. In the first advancing to quarterfinals were Tremblay, Boisvert-Lacroix, and Charles Hamelin of Ste-Julie, Que., and in the second Gilday, Monette and Hamelin.

Gilday also helped Canada qualify for the semifinals in the men’s 5,000 relay with Tremblay, Hamelin and Robillard.

In the first women’s 1,000, Jessica Gregg of Edmonton, Anne Maltais of Quebec City

Jessica Gregg, Photo: Arno Hoogveld
and Kalyna Roberge of Ste-Etienne-de-Lauzon, Que., are all headed to the quarters. In the second 1,000, Amanda Overland of Montreal advanced while Tania Vicent and Andrea Do-Duc, both of Montreal, must go through the repechage.

In the 500, Roberge and Gregg are through while Maltais is in the repechage. In the 1,500, Overland advanced and Vicent and Do-Duc are in the repechage.

In the women’s 3,000 relay, Canada won its heat and advanced to the semifinals with Gregg, Maltais, Overland and Roberge.

The Canadian team has battled the flu bug on its Asian trip with also every team member afflicted so far.

‘’We almost come to expect this on most road trips,’’ said Gagné. ‘’But I’ve never seen it this widespread. Thankfully the worst is over now.’’

Competition continues through to Sunday.