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Charles Hamelin, Valerie Maltais earn 1st wins at short track selection trials

Charles Hamelin and Valerie Maltais claimed their first win of the short track selection trials on Sunday.

Kim Boutin, Samuel Girard remain overall points leaders

Charles Hamelin, seen in this file photo from February, claimed his first victory at the short track selection trials on Sunday. (Jens Meyer/AP )

Charles Hamelin and Valerie Maltais claimed their first win of the short track selection trials on Sunday.

On the men's side, Hamelin who hails from Sainte-Julie, Que., skated to victory in the 1,500-metre after overtaking Samuel Girard with two laps to go. 

The win still left Hamelin behind Girard in the overall points standings.

"This is the kind of start to the competition I was looking for," said Hamelin, who is hoping to take part in his fourth Olympics.

"I earned a good total of points during these first two days, which means I will feel less pressure over the last three days of the competition."

Only the first three skaters – according to points – at the end of the trials will be named to the provisional Olympic team.

After two days of competition, Girard and Hamelin sit on top, while 20-year-old Steven Dubois remains third. 

"The key in a competition like this is consistency, and I've been consistent so far," said Girard, who is looking to qualify for his first-ever Olympics. "That gives me quite a big cushion in the standings. That lifts a weight from my shoulders."

Maltais, Boutin in tight duel

In the women's competition, Maltais was equally delighted with her victory.

 After two-fourth place finishes on Day 1, the Saguenay, Que., native has now moved up to second in the standings behind overall-points leader Kim Boutin.

"Although I wasn't satisfied with my [previous results] I was happy with the way I felt physically, and that gave me confidence looking ahead to today's races," said Maltais.

"And today, I did indeed skate with confidence, there was no doubt whatsoever ... I knew the key would be to avoid being caught up at the back. I was able to stay in control."

Throughout the day, both Boutin and Maltias were in a tough battle with Boutin successfully fending off Maltias in the 1,000, before succumbing in the 1,500.

Despite sharing the day's spoils Boutin remains satisfied. "Four races in two days takes a toll on you," said the Sherbrooke, Que., native who is vying to qualify for her first-career Olympics.

Racing will continue on Wednesday with the second 500 event in both the men's and women's competitions.

You can watch live coverage of Canada's best at the short track selection trials on CBC sports
 

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