July 20th, 2024

Canada sweeps gold in relays, adds two individual medals at short-track World Cup

By Daniel Rainbird, The Canadian Press on October 22, 2023.

Felix Roussel of Canada, front, skates ahead of Denis Nikisha of Kazakhstan during the 500-metre quarter-final race at the ISU World Cup Short Track Speedskating event in Montreal, Sunday, October 22, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

MONTREAL – Canada swept the relays and won two individual medals Sunday in the first ISU World Cup short-track speedskating event of the season.

Courtney Sarault, Renée Steenge, Danaé Blais and Florence Brunelle skated to gold for Canada in the women’s 3,000-metre relay. The United States took the silver and the Netherlands picked up bronze.

The Canadian men – the reigning Olympic champions – built off that momentum as William Dandjinou, Steven Dubois, Pascal Dion and Jordan Pierre-Gilles captured gold in the 5,000-metre relay.

The crowd at Maurice Richard Arena jumped to its feet as Dandjinou skated home on the last lap. South Korea won silver and Japan took bronze.

Earlier, Felix Roussel of Sherbrooke, Que., won silver in the men’s 500 metres, finishing half a skate blade behind reigning Olympic champion Liu Shaoang of China. French skater Quentin Fercoq earned bronze.

It was the first time Roussel has won silver in an individual World Cup event.

Dandjinou, from Montreal, picked up a bronze in the second men’s 1,000-metre event of the weekend. It was the first individual World Cup podium appearance of his career.

South Korea’s Gun Woo Kim captured gold and Italy’s Luca Spechenhauser won silver.

Three-time Olympic medallist Dubois was the only Canadian to earn some hardware on Saturday with a silver medal in the first men’s 1,000-metre event.

Dubois, from Lachenaie, Que., was one of 12 Canadian skaters in the event as 33 countries and 184 athletes arrived in Montreal for the first two World Cup events this season. Skaters will return to Maurice Richard Arena next weekend for the second competition.

Some Canadian skaters will then take part in a third straight competition at home as Laval, Que., hosts the Nov. 3-5 Four Continents speedskating championships at Place Bell.

Canada came close to finding the podium on two other occasions Sunday.

Fredericton’s Rikki Doak was fourth in the women’s 500-metre A final and Sarault, from Moncton, N.B., finished fourth in the women’s 1,000-metre A final.

Dubois and Montreal’s Dion came first and fifth respectively in the men’s 1,000-metre B final on Sunday.

Claudia Gagnon of La Baie, Que., and Blais, from Châteauguay, Que., finished second and third in the women’s 1,000-metre B final.

Steenge, from Brampton, Ont., and Florence Brunelle of La Baie, Que., fell out in the women’s 500-metre quarterfinals.

Pierre-Gilles of Sherbrooke, Que., was knocked out in the men’s 500-metre quarterfinals due to a penalty after making contact with another skater.

Xandra Velzeboer of the Netherlands captured gold in the women’s 500 and South Korea’s Gilli Kim topped the podium in the women’s 1,000.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 22, 2023.

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