Canada claimed its first short track speed skating gold medal of the season in the men's 5000-metre relay at the World Cup opener in Budapest, Hungary, on Sunday.
The quartet of Charles Hamelin (Saint-Felicien, Que.), Charle Cournoyer (Boucherville, Que.), Samuel Girard (Ferland-et-Boilleau, Que.), and Pascal Dion (Rivière-des-Prairies-Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que.) clocked in at six minutes, 46.191 seconds to edge China by 0.005 seconds. Japan was third with a time of 6:47.8.25.
"We really worked towards doing an effective relay race," said Cournoyer. "We maintained pretty much the same pace throughout and we took advantage of the fact that the teams ahead were out of gas. It was a very good performance. It's great to see that the work we put in over the last few years is paying off."
The Canadian women's 3000 relay team of Valerie Maltais (Saguenay, Que.), Marianne St-Gelais and Kasandra Bradette (both of Saint-Felicien, Que.), and Jamie Macdonald (Fort St. James, B.C.) also reached the podium, notching a silver medal.
"We all worked well together," said St-Gelais. "We had a plan that was similar to [Saturday's], in that we wanted to skate out front, manage the race as well as possible and try to counter South Korea's attack. We still have some work to do on that front, but we managed the first part of the relay quite well. I found that we ended up battling a little too much with the Russians, but it wasn't a bad race. It bodes well for future races."
South Korea took gold in 4:08.393, Canada was next at 4:09.817, while Russia was third at 4:10.382.
Hat trick for Boutin
Meanwhile, Kim Boutin of Sherbrooke, Que., continued her strong start to the season by capturing silver in the 1000, a day after finishing second in the 1500. Boutin, who skated for the relay team in earlier rounds, was also awarded a medal, her third silver of the weekend.
Boutin finished with a time of 1:34.799 and was once again the runner-up to South Korea's Jeong Min Choi's winning mark of 1:34.660. Elise Christie of Great Britain took bronze at 1:34.852.
"I'm quite proud of today's race," said Boutin. "My goal was to go with what I'm used to be doing, which means skating out towards the front and always be ready and aware of what's going on around me, and also to have a plan and stick with it throughout the weekend. It paid off big. I had strong legs until the end. That was another final that gave me a big boost of confidence."
In the 1000 B final, Valerie Maltais of Saguenay, Que., finished first in 1:30.982, almost five seconds in front of the pack.