William Dandjinou, Courtney Sarault and Danaé Blais reach individual distance podiums; Relay teams bring home two gold, one bronze
LAVAL, QUEBEC – The Canadian short track speed skating team reached the podium six more times on Sunday to cap off an 11 medal weekend at the ISU Four Continents Short Track Championships in Laval.
Canadians Steven Dubois (Lachenaie, Que.) and William Dandjinou (Montréal, Que.) battled until the very end of the men’s 1000m, finishing the A Final ranked first and second. Dandjinou had the lead for the final five laps, before Dubois executed a beautiful outside pass in the entrance of the final corner to steal the gold medal from his teammate.
Dubois’ jubilation was short lived, however, as the 26-year-old was issued a penalty for making contact with Korea’s Park Ji Won, disqualifying him from the race. The penalty resulted in Dandjinou being elevated into gold medal position, ahead of Ji Won (1:28.664) and Japan’s Yui Matsubayashi (1:28.939).
The women’s 1000m podium mirrored yesterday’s 1500m podium, with American Kristen Santos-Griswold (1:28.706) defeating the Canadian duo of Courtney Sarault (Moncton, N.B.) and Danaé Blais (Châteauguay, Que), who posted times of 1:29.208 and 1:30.613, respectively. Santos grabbed the lead from Sarault with four laps remaining and never looked back, as she captured her third individual distance medal of the weekend.
The Canadian relay teams also reached the podium three times during the final day of competition Sunday.
The mixed relay squad of Sarault, Dubois, Florence Brunelle and Jordan Pierre-Gilles captured gold following a five-team final that included Korea, China, Kazakhstan and the United States. With eight laps remaining, Brunelle brushed up against a competitor in the centre of the ice and slide into the protective matts, but her teammate Sarault was in the perfect position to relieve her seamlessly in time of the next exchange. Pierre-Gilles would later push Dubois into the lead during the last exchange, helping the speedster coast to victory ahead of the Americans (2:40.243) and Chinese (2:40.306).
Brunelle, Sarault, Blais and teammate Cynthia Mascitto went on to capture a second straight relay gold medal a short time after, racing to the top of the podium in 4:14.513, ahead of Korea (4:14.567) and Kazakhstan (4:16.200). The men’s team of Dubois, Dandjinou, Pierre-Gilles and Jérôme Courtemanche concluded the competition by brining home bronze in the 5000m relay, crossing the finish line in 7:13.556, behind silver medalist China (7:13.463) and gold medallist Korea (7:13.143).
Sunday’s races marked the conclusion of three consecutive weekends of international short track competition in the Greater Montreal area, who hosted back-to-back World Cups before wrapping things up with these Four Continents Championship. The team is back in action this December, with World Cup stops in Beijing and Seoul.
“This weekend was not a good as I had expected, but I still have a lot to learn so it’s expected that I would make some mistakes. I’m super grateful for my medal, but it feels a bit like a silver medal. My teammate Steven Dubois had an amazing race and deserved the gold medal, so props to him.”
“It was a great weekend overall. I arrived here a little tired because it was the first time I had done three international events in a row, but at the same time, last weekend I won two World Cup medals, so I knew what I was capable of. I had confidence that I could make podiums and am very satisfied with my performances. It encourages me for the rest of the season.”
- Courtney Sarault: 2nd
- Danaé Blais: 3rd
- Florence Brunelle: 6th
- Jordan Pierre-Gilles: 2nd
- William Dandjinou: 1st
- Steven Dubois: 5th
- Jérôme Courtemanche: 10th
- Mixed: 1st
- Women’s: 1st
- Men’s: 3rd