MINSK, Belarus â€” Guillaume Bastille came up with Canada’s best result at the World Cup short-track speedskating stage on Saturday as he finished sixth in the 1,500-metre final.
Guillaume Bastille of Riviere-du-Loup, Que., was the only Canadian skater to take part in the A final of an event. The 31-year-old athlete did not compete last season after undergoing shoulder surgery.
“I’m relatively satisfied with how my day went,” said Bastille. “I had a very good race in the semifinals to earn a spot in the A final, but the final didn’t go as well as I would have hoped for. I made a tactical mistake towards the middle of the race that cost me a lot. After that, I tried to keep my calm and looked to take advantage of my opponents’ mistakes, but there was relatively little contact.
“At the end, I tried overtaking to move into fourth place, but it was tight and I made contact with the third-place skater, pushing me back to last place during the last lap.”
Jamie Macdonald of Fort St. James, B.C., was the top Canadian on the women’s side as she won the 1,500-metre B final to take eighth place overall.
Penalties were costly to the Canadian team, as three of Canada’s seven representatives in action on Saturday were eliminated by infractions.
Patrick Duffy of Oakville, Ont., who trains in Montreal, and Francois Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, Que., were penalized respectively in the semifinal and quarter-final rounds of the first of two 1,000-metre events slated this weekend, while Valerie Maltais of Saguenay, Que., was eliminated in the 1,500-metre semifinals after she fell and was penalized.
The Canadian women’s team qualified for the relay final event though Kim Boutin of Sherbrooke, Que., only made one exchange to ensure that Canada had the required minimum of four skaters. Boutin suffered a hip injury during the week, but the Canadian women still managed to finish second in their heat on Saturday, behind Russia and ahead of Japan, to earn a spot in Sunday’s A final.
Unfortunately, on the men’s side, the rib and back pain Montreal’s Pascal Dion has felt since he fell on Friday forced him to miss Saturday’s races, forcing Canada to withdraw from the relay.
The Canadian Press