Charles Hamelin is the leader in the World Cup of short-track speed skating rankings after winning the 1,500-metre race on Saturday at an event in Seoul, South Korea.
Hamelin, from Levis, Que., won in two minutes 16.604 seconds, edging out South Korea’s Han-Bin Lee (2:16.760) and Russia’s Victor An (2:16.922). Francois Hamelin, brother of Charles, placed fifth in 2:18.850.
“It was cool to race this final with my brother,” said Charles Hamelin. “I had beautiful passes during the race, but the Russian passed me in the penultimate lap. I was able to pass him just before crossing the finish line, which got me my first win of the season in the 1,500 metre.”
Charles Hamelin’s performances in South Korea and Shanghai, China, have put him at the top of the overall World Cup rankings ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
“I came to Asia to win medals, but I have to admit that I am being surprised with my performances,” said Hamelin. “I am pleased because I do not consider myself at the top of my game.
“It looks good for the Olympics, because in a few months, I will be even faster and stronger.”
An won the men’s 500-metre final in 40.764 seconds, cementing his place behind Charles Hamelin in the World Cup rankings. China’s Dajing Wu (40.938) took silver, while South Korea’s Se Yeong Park (42.301) was third.
In women’s competition, South Korea’s Alang Kim and Suk Hee Shim placed first and second in the 1,500 metres, with times of 2:23.400 and 2:23.501 respectively. Valerie Maltais of La Baie, Que., took bronze in 2:24.863.
“This is a good beginning of the season,” said Maltais. “I am better at reading and managing my races. I am pleased with my speed at the end of my races.”
Marianne St-Gelais of Roberval, Que., took eight place, while Jessica Hewitt of Kamloops, B.C., finished 40th.
In the women’s 500-metre event, China’s Meng Wang won gold in 43.038 seconds, with her teammate Kexin Fan (43.130) a close second. Italy’s Arianna Fontana (43.351) was third.