Before this week’s races at the Maurice-Richard Arena, Quebecer Danaé Blais had never stood on the podium in an individual event in the Short Track Speed Skating World Cup. This is now ancient history.
The Quebecer took part in a second medal ceremony in as many days on Sunday, winning the silver medal at the end of the 1000m event.
Blais (1:31.471) avoided the pitfalls, narrowly beating South Korean Park Jiyun (1:31.505) at the finish line. Also from South Korea, Seo Whimin (1:31.288) triumphed.
This is Blais’ first World Cup medal over this distance. She finished in third position in the B final last week in Montreal. On Saturday, she obtained her first career medal by being decorated with bronze in the 1500 m.
However, Blais more or less believed in it before the start of hostilities.
“I feel a little bit like I’m in a dream,” said Blais. The weekend [dernière], it was my goal to have a medal, and it came close, so I was a little disappointed. I approached the second weekend with a little fatigue, I didn’t have the impression that this was the weekend where it was going to happen. So it’s really great. »
Rikki Doak (1:53.236) took part in the B final, where she settled for third and final place.
Claudia Gagnon was penalized in the semi-final, so she was eliminated. On Saturday, she placed fifth in the first 1500m.
Dubois in bronze
Quebecer Steven Dubois won the bronze medal in the 1500 m.
Second for a long time, Dubois (2:20.575) attempted a daring overtaking maneuver at the expense of South Korean Park Ji Won (2:20.406). The other skater from South Korea, Kim Gun Woo (2:20.294), took advantage of the slight loss of balance of his two rivals to take the lead and win.
Officials noted the incident, but ruled that responsibility was shared between Dubois and Won, upholding the findings.
Dubois is recovering after falling during the 500m final, his favorite distance, on Saturday.
“I don’t think it’s a balm,” he said. I’m still really proud of my performances. I raced to win. Yesterday, as much as today, it’s normal for there to be penalties and falls. I’m not here to get bronze and silver medals, so I think I can be really proud of how I raced. »
Quebecer Pascal Dion (2:20.731) was also in action, taking fourth place at the finish line.
After winning his first individual gold medal on Saturday in the 500m, Jordan Pierre-Gilles was eliminated in the semi-final of the 1500m. This is the only distance for which he has never been on the World Cup podium since the start of his career.
Among the women, Courtney Sarault (2:27.190) was unable to climb into the leading group during a very tough final. She finished in seventh and last place. It was the first individual event without a representative of the maple leaf on the podium since the start of the weekend.
Sarault did better in the first 1500m, when she finished just off the podium on Saturday.
The Belgian Hanne Desmet (2:24.672), the South Korean Kim Gilli (2:24.770) and the American Kristen Santos-Griswold (2:24.851) monopolized the podium. This is the same podium as the day before, before Desmet was disqualified. The Belgian also triumphed over this distance last week.
Three Canadians qualified for the semi-finals and they all competed in the same heat. Sarault advanced to the main final finishing third, while Renée Steenge was penalized and eliminated.
Florence Brunelle was also in the race after winning her repechage heat in the morning. She fell during this semi-final, and her time was not enough to participate in the small final.
Florence and Steenge had taken fourth and fifth place in the B final of the 500m the day before.
The men’s 1000m final was the only one to be contested without the presence of an athlete representing Canada. Quebecer Félix Pigeon, who plays under the banner of Poland, took part. He fell and received a yellow card for a dangerous maneuver.
William Dandjinou had initially reached the semi-finals by finishing in second place, but the officials took action against him due to an unauthorized maneuver at the expense of his compatriot Maxime Laoun. The latter, who fell after contact, obtained his pass.
Despite everything, it was a satisfactory World Cup for Dandjinou, who won his first individual gold medal on Saturday in the 1500m. Last week, he was decorated with bronze in the 1000m.
Félix Roussel was unable to advance to the semi-finals, also receiving a penalty. On Saturday, he took the 16e rank first 1500 m.
In the semi-final, Laoun was penalized, ending a difficult World Cup. He fell in the 500m semi-final on Saturday.
A silver relay
At the end of a 3000m relay filled with action and falls, Blais, Brunelle, Doak and Sarault were penalized following contact. They triumphed last week, when Steenge was in the group instead of Doak.
Among the men, Dandjinou, Roussel, Pierre-Gilles and Dubois finished second, behind the Chinese. The South Koreans were penalized for hampering the local favorites.
The Canadians won the relay last week, and three of the six World Cup relays in the 2022-23 season. This time, they changed strategy.
“ [Les Chinois] escaped because they were allowed to escape, Dubois explained. Our strategy was to wait for the last change [pour attaquer]. We struggled, we changed the order, we tried a new team, so I think we can be happy with the result. »
Canada therefore finished this World Cup with seven medals. That’s two more than last week, at the Maurice-Richard arena.
Short track fans will be able to see their favorites in action again next week, when the Four Continents Championship will take place at Place Bell in Laval.