SPORTS

Maltais, Bastille headline short-track speedskating World Cup event in Montreal

11/15/2014 01:42 EST | Updated 01/14/2015 05:59 EST
MONTREAL - Canadians Valerie Maltais and Guillaume Bastille both had a perfect day in qualifying rounds on Friday at the short-track speedskating World Cup.

Maltais, from La Baie, Que., reached the semifinal stage in the 1,500-metre women's race which will be on Saturday, and Sunday's 1,000-metre quarter-final. The 24-year-old skater also helped the Canadian relay team finish first in its heat in the 3,000-metre event and qualify for Saturday's semifinal.

"I felt like my legs were strong, even if I was a bit nervous about skating at home," said Maltais. "We launched the season last week in Salt Lake City and got things underway, but there's always the desire to do well on your own ice, here in Montreal.

"After the first race was over and done with, things went well. And now, it's a go for the weekend."

Maltais won a bronze medal in the women's 1,500 metres last weekend in Salt Lake City.

Bastille, from Riviere-du-Loup, Que., qualified for Saturday's 1,500-metre semifinal and Sunday's 1,000-metre quarter-final. He admitted he had a "pretty good Friday" after finishing first in both of his heat's events.

"The second race wasn't the most pretty because of the falls, but the important thing in the 1,000 metres is to stay away from trouble," said the 29 year-old veteran. "I did well to skate a safe race."

Marianne St-Gelais of Saint Felicien, Que., had an uneven day. She finished first in her heat in the 500-metre race and qualified for the quarter-final of that event to take place Saturday, but was disqualified from the women's 1,000 metres for interfering with a Hungarian skater.

"I was expecting it at the end of the race. I was too aggressive", said St-Gelais of the infraction. "I fought too hard to maintain my second position, I used my arms a little… It's not something I normally do. I tried it, it didn't work and now I won't ever do it again."

The Canadian women's relay nearly was eliminated when St-Gelais came close to falling after a push initiated by her teammates Joanie Gervais. St-Gelais found herself on one skate before finding her balance again.

"It was my fault," said St-Gelais. "Joanie was great, she took a larger turn to push me hard on the inside, and I wasn't yet well aligned and stable when she pushed me."

Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, Que., also had an up-and-down day on Friday. He placed first in the 1,500 metres and 500 metres heats, reaching the semifinal for the first event Saturday and the quarter-final in the second event set for Sunday. His fall two laps from the end in the men's 5,000 relay, however, resulted in Canada's elimination.

Seven other Canadian team members reached the quarter-final stage: Kim Boutin (500 metres Saturday), Kasandra Bradette (500 metres Saturday), Joanie Gervais (500 metres Sunday) and Courtney Shmyr (500 metres Sunday) on the women's side, as well as Yoan Gauthier (500 metres Sunday), Patrick Duffy (1,000 metres) and Samuel Girard (1,000 metres) on the men's team.

Five Canadians will get another chance to qualify through rep heats: Samuel Girard (500 metres Saturday), Samuel Belanger-Marceau (500 metre Saturday), Yoan Gauthier (1,500 metre), Joanie Gervais (1,500 metre) and Kasandra Bradette (500 metre Sunday).

MORE:cpSports