Isabelle Weidemann wins gold at Canadian single distance championships
Ottawa native skates to first-ever senior victory in 3,000m event
Ottawa's Isabelle Weidemann won her first senior gold medal in the women's 3,000-metre event on Sunday at the Canadian single distance long track championships.
The 20-year-old Weidemann clocked a time of four minutes 11.41 seconds for the victory. Ottawa's Ivanie Blondin placed second at 4:11.91 while Josie Spence of Kamloops, B.C., rounded out the podium in a time of 4:12.75.
Blondin, who already pre-qualified in the 3,000 for the World Cup No. 5 in Stavanger, Norway, as well as for the world single distance championships in Kolomna, Russia, will be accompanied by up to three other women nominated by Canada to compete in Norway. The top competitor at that World Cup, minus Blondin, will qualify for the world single distance championships, where the Canadian women have two spots in the 3,000.
Weidemann's victory on Sunday potentially gives her a chance to compete at both events.
"I'm pretty excited. I didn't expect it from how I had been skating in the fall, but it feels really great," said Weidemann. "I hope to improve my ranking to a top-10 spot internationally and hopefully skate some more personal bests, and learn a lot in the process."
Also, Toronto's Jordan Belchos took gold in the men's 5,000 with a time of 6:30.58.
Ben Donnelly of Oshawa, Ont., finished second (6:31.10) while Antoine Gelinas-Beaulieu of Sherbrooke, Que., claimed third spot (6:38.49).
"I didn't feel great the whole race, but I want the whole year to be a process working up to world championships," said Belchos.
Canada will send up to five men in the 5,000 to Stavanger, where the top skater, apart from Ted-Jan Bloemen, will qualify for the world single distance championships. Canada has two spots in the 5,000 for that competition.
Bloemen, currently ranked fifth in the world, is pre-qualified in the 5,000 for World Cup No. 5 and the world single distance championships, but is not racing this week while still recovering from an injury he sustained in December.