Speed Skating Canada – CALGARY, ALBERTA – Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu captured a first-place finish in the men’s 500m at the 2019 ISU World Allround Speed Skating Championships on Saturday. The native of Sherbrooke, Que. beat his personal best by over half a second with a time of 35.53 to lead the field of twenty-four skaters.
“I couldn’t have asked for more from my 500m,” explained Gélinas-Beaulieu after his race. “All of the work that I’ve put in over the last few months to increase my speed and power really came out on the ice today. The feeling of accomplishment is pretty amazing.”
Isabelle Weidemann of Ottawa, Ont. also found the top three on the first day of competition, finishing third in the 3000m with a personal best time of 3:58.51. In the same race, Martina Sáblíková of the Czech Republic set a new world record of 3:53.31 en route to a first-place finish.
“I felt really strong today,” said a pleased Weidemann. “I wanted to be aggressive and see what I was capable of and I’m happy with how it turned out. It’s always so cool to skate in Calgary – it’s my favourite oval in the world – and skating in front of family and friends was really fun.”
Weidemann also set a personal best in the 500m, finishing 19th with a time of 40.34. She is virtually guaranteed to be one of eight skaters racing in the 5000m on Sunday based on her 3000m result, despite currently sitting in 12th position overall.
Ottawa native Ivanie Blondin is one of the top ranked Canadians overall after two distances, sitting in sixth position with 79.315 points. Her times of 39.02 in the 500m and 4:01.77 in the 3000m were good enough for tenth and ninth place in the field, respectively. Blondin trails leader Miho Takagi of Japan by 6.21 points and will aim to skate an impressive 1500m on Sunday to reach the final 5000m race.
Teammate Valérie Maltais of Saguenay, Que. finished tenth in the 3000m (4:03.20) and 21st in the 500m, despite setting a new personal best of 40.42, to earn 17th overall position.
On the men’s side, Calgary’s Ted-Jan Bloemen also sits in sixth position overall after two distances with 74.630 points. He finished fifth in the 5000m with a time of 6:13.20 and 19th in the 500m (37.31) to find himself 6.19 points back from leader Patrick Roest of the Netherlands.
Despite his outstanding result in the 500m, Gélinas-Beaulieu is currently ranked 20th overall after placing 23rd in the 5000m with a time of 6:43.35. The final Canadian in competition this weekend, Toronto’s Jordan Belchos, skated to an eighth-place finish in the 5000m (6:17.90) and was 21st in the 500m (37.51), results that have him ranked 16th overall after day one.
On Sunday, all skaters will participate in the 1500m before the top eight ladies and men race the 5000m and 10,000m respectively in a bid to be crowned Allround Champion. The athletes with the fewest combined points from all four races will earn the title.
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