MONTREAL, QUEBEC – William Dandjinou and Courtney Sarault were crowned this year’s Canadian short track champions on Sunday, concluding an exciting three-day long Canadian Short Track Championships presented by Intact Insurance at the Maurice Richard Arena in Montreal.
It marked the first national title for both Dandjinou and Sarault, who unseeded three-time defending champions Steven Dubois and Kim Boutin from atop the overall podium in their final races of the weekend.
On the women’s side, Sarault fended off some stiff competition from fellow Olympians Boutin (Sherbrooke, Que.) and Florence Brunelle (Trois-Rivières, Que.) to claim her first overall title. The Moncton native earned five medals (3 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze) and finished with 19,000 points across her four best distances, placing her ahead of Boutin (18,000 points) and Brunelle (13,960 points).
The 23-year-old Sarault earned a pair of 1000m gold medals over the course of the weekend, which included narrowly defeating Boutin and Danaé Blais (Chateauguay, Que.) with a time of 1:32,805 in Sunday’s final race of the competition to secure the national crown. She was also victorious in Friday’s 500m-1 final, posting a time of 0:43.930 to defeat Boutin (0:43.953) and Brunelle (0:43.983).
Boutin emerged triumphant in both 1500m races, winning gold with times of 2:38.028 and 2:39.868 on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Brunelle captured the only other gold medal of the weekend, reaching the top step of the podium with a time of 0:43.799 in the 500m-2.
Medalists on the women’s side included Boutin (6), Sarault (5), Blais (4) and Brunelle (3).
On the men’s side, Dandjinou (Montreal, Que.) and Dubois (Lachenaie, Que.) battled throughout the weekend, with each skater reaching the podium five times across six distances. Dandjinou finished the competition with 19,000 points in his top four distances (3 gold, 2 silver), giving him a narrow win over Dubois (18,000) and fellow Montrealer Pascal Dion (11,520 Points).
Dandjinou captured gold in both men’s 1500m races, surging to the top of the podium on Friday and Saturday with times of 2:26.925 and 2:17.407, respectively. The 22-year-old, who celebrated his birthday on Sunday, was also victorious in the final race of the weekend, brining home gold in the 1000m-2 with a time of 1:25,592, ahead of Dubois and William Sohier (Quebec City, Que.).
For his part, Dubois captured gold in the 1000m-1 and 500m-2, along with silver in both 1500m races and the 1000m-2. Fellow Olympian Jordan Pierre-Gilles (Sherbrooke, Que.) was the only other skater to win gold on the men’s side, earning the top spot in Friday’s 500m-1 with a time of 0:41.621.
The full list of men’s medalists includes Dandjinou (5), Dubois (5), Dion (2), Pierre-Gilles (1), Jérôme Courtemanche (2), William Sohier (1), Samuel Bureau (1) and Adam Law (1).
Canada’s short track team kicks off their international season later this month with three consecutive weekends of exciting action on home ice in the Greater Montreal area. The Maurice-Richard Arena in Montreal will host back-to-back ISU World Cup Short Track competitions, from October 20-22 and October 27-29. Racing will then shift to Place Bell in Laval for the ISU Four Continents Speed Skating Championships, which run from November 3-5.
Tickets are on sale for all three international competitions. Experience the thrill of short track speed skating by purchasing a single-day ticket for as low as $9.95 or a weekend pass for only $15.95.
“It feels amazing to win the overall title. Coming into the competition, I knew I wanted to be battling for the title, but I wasn’t sure if my legs would hold up. I have been working hard this summer and felt my legs were pretty loaded from training, so I’m really proud of myself for pulling this off. I had a bit of an extra boost on the last day. I got out of my head and stopped worrying about everything, and it paid off. The 500m didn’t go as planned in the morning but I used that as fuel and tried to end things on a good note in the 1000m, which I managed to do.”
“It’s really big! I don’t have the words right now – I just want to live in the moment. I had good preparation and it paid off. There were several moments at the start of the competition where I just wanted to get as many points as possible. After my first two victories, I saw that it was possible to go for the Canadian title. This last day, I saw it as all or nothing. I had already qualified for the World Cups and had the chance to win it all, and I went for it.”