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Oval Program Skater Ben Donnelly Brings Home Canadian Jr. Championship

Submitted by ryan.ohashi on Tue, 01/27/2015 - 1:11pm


PHOTO: The Champ is here!  Ben Donnelly captured his first Canadian Junior Championship this past weekend...
JP Penguin insisted that a title belt was in order...

CALGARY, AB – The Calgary Olympic Oval is very proud to congratulate Ben Donnelly, recently crowned 2015 Canadian Junior Champion.  Donnelly racked up a “triple gold” weekend in which he captured the Mens 1000M, 1500M and 5000M races in the Canadian Junior Championships in Quebec City.  This, combined with his fifth place finish in the 500M, was enough to earn him his first Canadian Junior title.

“It was a great weekend, I felt really good about it all… The 500M was probably my best time in the 500 all year and it’s not my strongest distance so that set me up really well for the allround” said Donnelly “My hope was that if I could be first in points coming out of the 500M & 1500M on Saturday I would be right in the mix for the allround title on Sunday”

Donnelly, an 18-year old native of Oshawa, ON and will now represent Canada in the World Junior Championships to be held February 20-22 in Warsaw, Poland.  He will be joined by fellow Oval Program skater Isabelle Weidemann who prequalified for the 2015 World Juniors and is will be competing for Canada at her first senior World Cup event in Hamar, Norway this weekend.  This will be the second World Junior Championship for both Donnelly and Weidemann as both are returnees from last season’s World Junior team.

“Ben skated very well at all four distances and has showed constant improvement all year long” said Oval Coach Todd McClements “This sets him up well for World Juniors and provided some good experience for him in dealing with outdoor conditions“

“It’s a great honour anytime you have the chance to represent your country.” said Donnelly “After coming in second last year the Canadian junior title was definitely a goal for me this season.  Now I am just hoping all the hard work pays off with success at Worlds – I am excited and looking forward to the challenge”

Both Donnelly and Weidemann were recipients of Oval bursaries for the 2014-15 season.  The Oval Athlete Bursary fund was created by Olympic Oval Liaison Catriona Le May Doan to help alleviate some of the financial strains put on Canadian high performance athletes.  Since its inception 10 years ago, the Oval Bursary Fund has supported 75 athletes in their quest for excellence in the sports of speed skating, cycling and female hockey.

“The Oval Program is very proud of Isabelle and Ben’s recent performances to secure their spots on the World Junior team as the top female and male skaters” says Marcel Lacroix, Oval Associate Director of High Performance Programs adding “It’s a testament to their hard work and dedication to the high performance program.  We know they will be great ambassadors and wish them both the best of luck as they represent us proudly.”

The ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships are set for February 20-22, 2015 in Warsaw, Poland.   For more infomation on the Canadian Junior Championships be sure to visit: http://www.speedskating.ca

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