Maxime Laoun is back in force

Maxime Laoun is back in force


After a miserable first day at the Canadian Speed ​​Skating Championships, Maxime Laoun turned things around on Saturday by winning gold in the 1000m and bronze in the 1500m to climb to third place in the overall short track standings. 

“I had no choice but to come back strong,” admitted Laoun, who was in 13th place overall after the first day. I was stressed before taking the start, but I was confident in my abilities. I knew I was capable of performing at the height of my means. »

Laoun achieved a first by winning the 1000m. 

“I won silver and bronze medals, but this is my first gold medal in the selection, said he indicated. I knew I needed a big race and that's why the emotion came out when I crossed the finish line and raised my fist. »

Only the four best performances from the six races are taken into consideration for World Cup selection.

“I had ruined my first day, but it didn't matter because I could start from scratch,” he explained. It was with this mentality that I showed up at the starting line. The formula of the selections gives a chance to recover. I was not demoralized because I had good legs. On Friday, I was unlucky in the 1500m and made a mistake in the 500m by trying to overtake too daringly. »

“I'm in a good position, but it's super important to finish the selections strong,” added Laoun, who was a member of the team that won the 5000m relay at the Beijing Games. I want to show what I can do. »

Spectacular passing

Victorious in the 500m on Friday, Steven Dubois added a gold medal in the 1500m by passing an inside pass in the last turn.

“I had been preparing this strategy for five rounds,” he said. I generated speed by creating a gap with the peloton before trying to overtake. I had to pass Pascal [Dion] and Maxime otherwise I would have lost my speed if I had found myself between the two. Pascal did not see me. If there had been a collision, we would both have fallen. »

Violent fall for Kim Boutin

Attempting to overtake to take second position from Danaé Blais, Kim Boutin was dragged into a violent fall when his opponent has lost his footing. 

“I tried to pass, but she fell in front of me,” said Boutin, who had finished second in the 1,500m earlier in the day. I hooked Danae with my arm to prevent her from suffering a second impact. I wanted to make sure she was okay before I got up. It'll take ice for my arm, but I'm fine.

Leader after two races, Boutin slipped to second place behind Courtney Sarault, who won both events on Saturday. 

“It's not important to finish first,” said the Sherbrooke skater. The priority is to bet on good strategies and succeed in overtaking so that I improve in the long term. »

Silver Medal

Claudia Gagnon won silver in the 1,500m and bronze in the 1,000m to climb to third place overall . 

“I wanted to recover and I am very happy with my day, she summarized. I had just missed the podium in the 1500 on Friday, and I was on a mission. I had rage. This time, I just missed the victory, but I'm very happy.

“My goal at tryouts was to get as many podiums as possible and finish in the Top 6 overall to qualify for the World Cup,” Gagnon continued. I know that I can compete with all the girls. » 

Personal record for Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu 

Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu achieved a personal best to win the silver medal in the 1500m at the Canadian championships and earned his ticket to the World Cup.

Author of a time of 1 min 45 s 09 , Gélinas-Beaulieu subtracted a little more than a second from his personal mark of 1 min 46 s 09 established two weeks ago. He gave way only to Connor Howe, who froze the clock at 1 min 44 s 77.

“It's unimaginable as a timer at this time of the season,” said Gélinas-Beaulieu. I am really happy and very surprised. I never thought I could achieve such a time at sea level. The ice has to be fast, as the times achieved in the other events also show.

If the mass start which will be presented on Sunday remains his priority, the former short track skater believes he can find success in the 1500m.

“A time of 1 min 45 s at sea level would put me in a very good position in the World Cup and I could consider a Top 10, he said. I finished the race strong and that gives confidence for the rest of things. Unlike last year, I started slower and I was more consistent, which allowed me not to finish completely drained. This strategy has helped me. »

With a time of 1 min 47 s 81, Vincent De Haître finished fifth. As for Laurent Dubreuil, who took the start to train for the 1000m, he crossed the finish line in 1 min 50 s 43, which earned him 10th place.

< p>Another medal for Lamarche

After winning bronze in the 1,000 m to sign her first career podium on Friday, Béatrice Lamarche doubled the lead on Saturday, climbing on the third step of the podium in the 1,500 m with a time of 1 min 58 s 12. The medalists Olympians Ivanie Blondin and Isabelle Weidemann won gold and silver.

“It's a little surprise to finish on the podium because there were several good girls, but I had a good race,” said Lamarche, who is now qualified for the World Cup in both events. It was so close for third place. »

“By getting on the podium in my two best events, I proved to myself that I have my place,” added Lamarche, who was not able to qualify for the World Cup last year. I improved my limit switches and Valérie Maltais had a good role in this improvement. We have been training together since Valérie moved to Quebec and we push each other. » 

Jordan Pierre-Gilles withdraws from the competition 

The skater injured his ankle in a violent fall< /p> Jordan Pierre-Gilles takes his ankle after having suffered a nasty fall on Friday.

Olympian Jordan Pierre-Gilles had to put a cross on his national championships after a violent slip causing an injury on Friday. 

Victim of a fall on Friday, when he was second in the 500m final, Pierre-Gilles injured his ankle. On Saturday morning, he participated in the warm-up session, but he had to withdraw reluctantly.

“It's the first time I have to withdraw from a competition and it's hard to accept,” said the gold medalist in the 5000m relay at the Beijing Games. Even if I wanted to continue and I'm not comfortable with the idea of ​​withdrawing, I have to think about my health. The season is young and I don't want to risk aggravating my injury. This is only the first year of the Olympic cycle. »

Pierre-Gilles was heading towards a podium in the 500m when he had a heavy fall without anyone having touched him. 

« After a good run in the preliminaries and in the semi-finals, I was in a very good position in the finals when I crashed, he indicated. After I fell, my skate got caught in the ice and my right ankle suffered. »

Selection for the World Cup

Pierre-Gilles preferred to play it safe by withdrawing, even if the nationals serve as a selection for the World Cup, which will kick off in Montreal from October 28 to 30.

“I leave the decision to select me in the World Cup in the hands of the coaches and the organization, he explained. Everyone who knows skating knows that I have my place in the World Cup. We are only three men [Steven Dubois and Pascal Dion are the other two] in the country who managed a Top 8 on the international scene last year. This is an important criterion in the discretionary choice. »

Speed ​​Skating Canada (SPC) may use discretionary choices when selecting athletes for the World Cup. It is also possible for an athlete to benefit from a bye due to their medical situation.

Last year, at the nationals, Charles Hamelin suffered a concussion at the start of the championship and had to withdraw. PVC had then used the medical clause to allow him to start the World Cup.

“Jordan respects the prerequisite for obtaining a medical pass which is to have obtained a top eight in the Cup the world or at the world the previous year,” explained Canadian team head coach Sébastien Cros. The High Performance Committee will study the file and draw a comparison with the last qualified skater. »

Recovered in time

Does Pierre-Gilles think he will recover in time for the Montreal World Cup? “I don't think I'll be away for too long. I think I'm ready for the competition in Montreal. »

Author of a first individual medal in the World Cup last season, in his favorite event of the 500m, Pierre-Gilles has great expectations for the next season. 

“It's only the beginning what I showed last year,” he said. I still have great things to show. »