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Canada names first six skaters for world short track championships

Canada names skaters for world championships

MONTREAL — Canada named its first six skaters to earn spots for the 2017 ISU world short track championships following their performances at the Canadian senior championships on Sunday.

Marianne St-Gelais, Kim Boutin and Marie-Eve Drolet will represent Canada on the women's side, while Charle Cournoyer, Samuel Girard and Charles Hamelin were named to the men's squad.

St-Gelais, from Saint-Felicien, Que., Boutin of Sherbrooke, Que., and Drolet, from Chicoutimi, Que., finished first, second and third, respectively, in the combined standings — which included results for the Canadian senior championships as well as those from the Fall World Cup selections and the Canadian Open national qualifier.

"I'm very happy. I applied all the right things in preparation for the World Cups and the world championships," said St-Gelais, who won the 1,500-metre event and the 500 over the weekend to be crowned national champion. "That's the goal we set since the start, which was to be at the world championships and try to pick up where I left off last year. It bodes well for the rest of the season."

Cournoyer of Boucherville, Que., Girard, from Ferland-et-Boilleau, Que., and Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, Que., in that order, did the same on the men's side.

Cournoyer earned his first title as national champion, based on winning gold in the 500, the 1,500 and the 3,000, and silver in Sunday's 1,000.

"It's proof of all the efforts I made over the last few years to really improve tactically and technically, and to improve overall, and that I'm getting better. It's good to see that the results are there after all the work I've put in," said Cournoyer, who won a bronze medal in the 500 at the 2014 Olympic Games.

Canada will send a team of five women and five men to the ISU world short track championships, which will be held March 10-12 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

By taking the top two women's spots, St-Gelais and Boutin also earned berths in individual races at the world championships, as did Cournoyer and Girard on the men's side. In Rotterdam, Canada will have three representatives on the men's team and three on the women's squad for the individual races.

The skaters who will be awarded the vacant spots on the Canadian team, for the upcoming international competitions as well as for the individual races slated for the world championships, will be announced at a later date.

The Canadian Press