Canada totals three medals on the first day of the 2016 ISU World Junior Long Track Championships
Changchun, PRC – Ben Donnelly of Oshawa, ON, and Christopher Fiola of Montreal, QC, won silver medals in the men's 1500m and 500m, respectively, while Béatrice Lamarche of Quebec City (Sainte-Foy–Sillery–Cap-Rouge borough) collected bronze in the women's 1500m, Friday, on the first day of the 2016 ISU World Junior Long Track Championships held in Changchun, China. Donnelly leads the overall rankings after two events as he continues his push for a possible World Junior Championship.
These are the first medals won by Canada at the World Junior Championships since the 2012 edition, which took place in Obihiro, Japan. That year, Laurent Dubreuil won gold in the 500m and bronze in the 1000m. Kate Hanly also stepped on the podium by coming up with a bronze medal in the women's 1000m.
In Friday's 500m, Christopher Fiola, the Canadian junior champion title holder, skated to a time of 35.97 seconds, good for the silver medal. He finished behind Ignat Golovatsyuk (35.72) from Belarus. China's Tao Yang, who was paired off with Fiola in the 26th pair out of a total of 29, earned bronze in 36.03.
"I felt really good about my 500m. I was hoping for a top-3 result so I achieved my goal," said Fiola, age 19. "It was a pretty tight race. I gave it all I got and it worked out at the end."
In the 1500m, Donnelly collected silver with a time of 1:48.56, a tenth of a second away from the gold-medal winner Min Seok Kim of South Korea. Marcel Bosker, of the Netherlands, earned bronze (1:50.28).
"Going into it, I wanted to start hard and treat the first two laps as if it was a 1000m and go for it," explained Donnelly. "I struggled a bit in the last lap and my entries were a little off, but I think the race was good overall and I can't be disappointed with a medal!"
As mentioned Donnelly is currently on top of the men's overall standings, while Fiola is fourth. Tyson Langelaar of Winnipeg, MB, is 16th.
In the women's 1500m, Béatrice Lamarche earned a spot on the third step of the podium thanks to a time of 2:02.48. Russia's Elizaveta Kazelina won gold by coming up with a time of 2:00.68 and was followed by Dutch skater Esther Kiel (2:02.24).
"It was my best race ever," said Béatrice Lamarche. "I felt super great during the race. Everything was just perfect and I'm really surprised by my time and result."
Lamarche, who was crowned Canadian junior champion earlier this year, was also the top Canadian in the 500m with an 11th-place finish.
After two races, Béatrice Lamarche is third in the women's overall standings. Abigail McCluskey of Penticton, B.C., is 15th while Gabrielle Sanson of Moose Jaw, SK, is 25th.
The races slated for Saturday are the 1000m, the team sprints, the women's 3000m and the men's 5000m.
TODAY’S CANADIAN RESULTS
Overall ranking (after two events) M
1. Ben Donnelly
4. Christopher Fiola
16. Tyson Langelaar
Overall ranking (after two events) W
3. Béatrice Lamarche
15. Abigail McCluskey
25. Gabrielle Sanson
SILVER: Christopher Fiola (35,97)
13. Ben Donnelly (36,72)
31. Antoine Roger (37,414)
39. Tyson Langelaar (37,68)
SILVER: Ben Donnelly (1:48,56)
16. Christopher Fiola (1:52,18)
17. Tyson Langelaar (1:52,49)
31. Antoine Roger (1:55,75)
BRONZE: Béatrice Lamarche (2:02,48)
21. Abigail McCluskey (2:07,11)
34. Gabrielle Sanson (2:12,25)
38. Véronique Déry (2:16,84)
11. Béatrice Lamarche (40,28)
25. Abigail McCluskey (41,35)
27. Gabrielle Sanson (41,43)
42. Véronique Déry (42,74)
More details are available at Speed Skating Canada's web site at www.speedskating.ca.