Macdonald and Girard crowned Canadian champions ~ Passion/Patin/Vitesse - Passion/Speed/Skating


24 septembre 2018

Macdonald and Girard crowned Canadian champions

The best skaters in Canada were back at the Maurice-Richard arena for the third and final day of racing at the Canadian Championships yesterday.

By Carl Savard
Photos by  Oscar van den Bosch 

On the third day of racing, the skaters raced once again on two distances: 500m and 1000m.

500m (2)
After getting on the highest step of the podium Friday on 500m, things didn’t go as well for Cédrick Blais Sunday on the distance. An unfortunate fall at the beginning of the qualifying rounds saw his chances of repeating his feat on 500m come to an end. The big final saw Charles Hamelin, Charle Cournoyer, Steven Dubois, Mathieu Bernier and Samuel Girard facing each other and at the end Hamelin got on the podium with Dubois and Cournoyer while Girard was brought down by a fall from Bernier.

On the women’s side, a great show offered to us by Danaé Blais and Audrey Phaneuf in the quarterfinals, turned to the advantage of Ontario’s Renee Steenge who was able to slip through the scramble to qualify for the next round finishing ahead of Blais. Steenge ended up finishing second in the B final while Blais won the C final. In the main event, Jamie Macdonald, Audrey Phaneuf, Alison Desmarais and Alyson Charles met and Charles was just too strong for the group. She was joined on the podium by Alison Desmarais and Audrey Phaneuf.

1000m (2)

No big surprise during the qualification and quarterfinal rounds of the 1000m but in semifinal, one of the races needed help from the referees to sort out the results. A move from Cédrik Blais led to a collision with Maxime Laoun. Blais was penalised for his action and Laoun was advanced to the main final where he would have to battle with Charles Hamelin, Pascal Dion, Samuel Girard and Steven Dubois. At the end, Girard came up on top in the final finishing ahead of Dubois and Hamelin who completed the podium.

The women’s part of the competition was even quieter with all the big names of the weekend reaching the main event on this second 1000m final of the competition. Alyson Charles, Jamie Macdonald, Audrey Phaneuf, Courtney Sarault and Claudia Gagnon had one last chance to grab a win after three days of hard fought battles. Sarault, the young star from New-Brunswick, finished first ahead of Macdonald and Phaneuf.

Macdonald and Girard crowned Canadian champions

On the men's side, Samuel Girard finished first while 2018 world champion Charles Hamelin finished second and their relay teammate Pascal Dion finished third. Girard was all smile when talking about his competition. "We saw this weekend that there is depth in the team. Many different skaters were able to get on the podium. The Canadian team is healthy and as soon as we started working with our new coach during the summer, we felt like it was the beginning of the season. Now, I can focus on the World cup season."

Just like it was the case last year, Jamie Macdonald relied on her constancy to perform at those selections, but this year she finished first and goes home with the title of canadian champion. "My goal going into a competition is always to keep a level head and race smart and now that I've got a lot more experience I feel like I can accomplish that a lot easier.» 

For many short track fans in Canada, the name Alyson Charles has been linked to "future star" for a few years now. Her second place overall this weekend is the outcome we've all been waiting for, including her. "I was confident for this weekend because I had a great summer of training, but I was a bit nervous at the same time because I felt like it was the first year I really had a chance to join the Canadian team for international events at the senior level. I can't wait to gage where I stand on the world stage." 

Courtney Sarault's blooming started last year and by finishing third overall this weekend, she showed us that she can compete at the senior level even though she is still a junior. "It was a hard three days. A year ago I wouldn't have expected that I'd be where I am right now that's for sure. I just kept working hard and it paid off. I'm a little nervous about competing in World cup events, but I know I'll have my older teammates by my side and Alyson (Charles) will also be new on the World cup circuit so we'll deal with that together." 

Here are Sunday's finals:

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