Sports

Marianne St-Gelais, Charle Cournoyer skate to a national titles in the 1,500m

MONTREAL — Speedskaters Marianne St-Gelais and Charle Cournoyer earned gold medals at the 2017 Canadian senior championships on Friday by skating to victory in the 1,500-metre events.

St-Gelais of Saint-Felicien, Que., won her third straight Canadian women's title in the distance by finishing ahead of Kim Boutin, from Sherbrooke, Que., and Valerie Maltais of Saguenay, La Baie borough, Que.

"After overtaking from fourth spot with five laps to go, I was pretty confident that I would be able to stay ahead and would go on to win the race," said St-Gelais.

Cournoyer, of Boucherville, Que., won the men's title in the 1,500, finishing ahead of Guillaume Bastille of Riviere-du-Loup, Que., who collected the silver medal, followed by Samuel Girard of Ferland-et-Boilleau, Que.

"With about six laps to go, I wasn't very well positioned, I was fourth. But I was able to gain ground and I took advantage of the contact between Charles (Hamelin) and Sam (Girard) to end up first during the last lap. It was a good first day," said Cournoyer.

Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, Que., saw a second-place result taken away when he was penalized for interference.

"We were seven good skaters out there and it was to be expected that all kinds of things would happen in that race. That's what happened, notably with two clashes between me and Charles," said Sam Girard.

The 500-metre races are scheduled for Saturday.