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Marianne St-Gelais, Charle Cournoyer win more gold at Canadian championships

St-Gelais, Cournoyer capture golds in 500-metres

MONTREAL — Charle Cournoyer and Marianne St-Gelais earned their second national titles in as many events at the 2017 short track speedskating Canadian senior championships on Saturday, coming out on top in the 500-metre events.

Cournoyer, of Boucherville, Que., finished ahead of Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, Que., and Montreal's Pascal Dion.

The final was held twice because the chief referee of the competition stopped the first race with one quarter of a lap to go, after Hamelin and Dion fell to the ice as they were both skating out in front. Samuel Belanger-Marceau and Cournoyer skated on to finish first and second, respectively.

The International Skating Union (ISU) has a rule to stop a race with the goal in mind of protecting skaters in the lead.

"I skated great in each of the rounds," said Cournoyer, who won the men's 1,500 on Friday. "Nobody had any legs left (in the second race) to go fast and I won. As for me, I still had strong legs since I'm a skater that has endurance and I won in this situation. Instead of finishing second, I came in first."

"I understand the rule which hasn't been applied often," he added. "I'm not against it, especially in important competitions. I think it was the right thing to do, in part because of what happened in Sochi, when three skaters fell in the men's relay and also in the women's 500m final, and they didn't do the race over. I think this rule is a step in the right direction."

St-Gelais won her eighth Canadian title in three years by finishing first in the women's 500.

The Saint-Felicien, Que., native skated out in front from start to finish. She was followed by Jamie Macdonald of Fort St. James, B.C., and Kim Boutin from Sherbrooke, Que.

"We talk a lot about my wins over the last three years but this weekend, these Canadian championships are a big event for me," said St-Gelais.

"Not only in terms of calibre â€” this is one of the first times where it was as close between me and my opponents â€” but also because I'm thinking a lot about what lies ahead, especially the world championships and the Olympic Games."

The 1,000 and 3,000 events will take place on Sunday, the last day of the competition.

The Canadian Press