Innsbruck, Austria, January 29, 2017 – Danaé Blais, Alyson Charles, Courtney Sarault and Renee Steenge came up with Canada's best result at the 2017 ISU World Junior Short Track Speed Skating Championships held over the weekend in Innsbruck, Austria, as they took fourth place in the women's relay final scheduled Sunday.
Blais of Châteauguay, QC, Charles from Montreal (Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension borough), QC, Sarault of Moncton, N.B., and Steenge from Brampton, ON, finished behind China, Russia and Japan, in that order.
“The team was ready in the final and we had some good exchanges. We even were able to move up to third place towards the last part of the race,” pointed out Alyson Charles. “But with two laps to go, some skaters fell in front of us and we lost a lot of speed. We could have won a medal. Still, we improved throughout the week.”
Eliminated in the qualification round, the Canadian men's relay team comprised of Gibson Himbeault from Whitby, ON, Marc-Olivier Lemay of Montreal (Rivière-des-Prairies – Pointe-aux-Trembles borough), QC, Maxime Raymond-Chitaya of Montreal (Le Plateau-Mont-Royal borough), QC, and Marco Schumann from Saskatoon, SK, ended the weekend in 13th place overall.
A new Canadian junior record in the 1000m for Alyson Charles
In individual events held Sunday, Alyson Charles and Marco Schumann were the top Canadians as they reached the semifinal stage in the 1000m. No Canadian skater was able to earn a spot among the top six overall following the first three individual events, which would have allowed them to skate in the 1500m Super Final.
In the 1000m quarterfinals and semifinals, Alyson Charles found herself in the same heats as South Korea's Yu Bin Lee who, in each of those races, set a new world junior record. Lee ended up being crowned 2017 World Champion.
At the quarterfinal stage in the 1000m, Alyson Charles took advantage of the fast pace to lower the Canadian junior record by more than two seconds. The mark now stands at 1:30.192. Charles held the record since the 2017 Canadian Junior Championships held in Calgary, where she skated to a time of 1:32.555.
“These fast races gave me confidence because I saw that I was able to race well even if everyone was going fast,” pointed out Charles. “Also, I had never clocked such fast times in a 1000m, and I was proud of that. In the semifinals, it was tactical mistakes and the way I managed the second third of the race that cost me a spot in the final.”
“Overall, I'm happy with how the competition went. I had relatively high expectations compared to last year, because I had a better idea of what to expect. I'm a little disappointed, but I managed all my races well. It wasn't a lack of will, but because of mistakes. I trained more and improved more tactically and physically over the last year; and thanks to more training, I will be even better next year.”
In final overall standings, Charles and Schumann were the top Canadian skaters as they both finished 10th in their respective gender category. Renee Steenge was 15th overall while Courtney Sarault was 39th on the women's side. Marc-Olivier Lemay was 18th and Gibson Himbeault was 21st on the men's side.
TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS
Alyson Charles: 5th in the semifinals and eliminated (final ranking: 9)
Renee Steenge: 4th in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 13)
Courtney Sarault: 4th in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 14)
Marco Schumann: sixth in the semifinals and eliminated (final ranking: 11)
Marc-Olivier Lemay: fifth in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 19)
Gibson Himbeault: 3rd in the heats and eliminated (final ranking: 22)
Canada: 4th in the A Final (final ranking: 4)
(Danaé Blais, Alyson Charles, Courtney Sarault, Renee Steenge)
Final Ranking W
10. Alyson Charles
15. Renee Steenge
39. Courtney Sarault
Final Ranking M
10. Marco Schumann
18. Marc-Olivier Lemay
21. Gibson Himbeault
More details are available on Speed Skating Canada's website at www.speedskating.ca.
About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for competitive long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, the association is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial branches representing more than 14,000 individual members, and counting. SSC believes that sport is an apprenticeship for life and prizes respect for others, integrity, excellence of effort, as well as a safe, healthy environment. SSC recognizes and values its outstanding volunteers who give freely of their time and expertise. It also celebrates the 63 Olympic medals won by Canadian athletes since 1932, as well as the coaches, officials and other dedicated individuals who helped them on their journey.
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