Boutin, Girard skate to silver medals at short track worlds
Canadian women's relay team qualifies for Sunday's 3,000m final in Bulgaria
Canadian Olympic speed skating medallists Kim Boutin and Sam Girard have returned to the podium at the short track world championships.
Competing at her fourth worlds, the 24-year-old Boutin, from Sherbrooke, Que., improved upon her bronze-medal effort from last year and now has three medals in the 1,500 this season.
Boutin led the pack several times in Saturday's final but was passed by eventual gold medallist Min Jeong Choi of Korea in the final laps. Russia's Sofia Prosvirnova was third.
WATCH | Boutin skates to silver:
"I am vice champion of the world in the 1,500 so that is definitely satisfying for me," Boutin told Speed Skating Canada. "It's the best world championships result of my career, so I am very happy. I made good choices during the race and worked hard right to the end."
Boutin won three medals in her Olympic debut a year ago in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and was named Canada's flag-bearer for the closing ceremony.
She's been consistent after delaying the start of her 2018-19 season until December.
Boutin was second in her season debut on Dec. 8 in the 1,000 at Almaty, Kazakhstan before grabbing bronze the following day.
Meanwhile, Girard, the lanky 22-year-old native of Ferland-et-Boilleau, Que., has had mixed results this season after claiming Olympic gold in the 1,000 at Pyeongchang.
Girard catches break
The men's 1,500 on Saturday was halted at the halfway point of the first race after Girard was taken out by a Japanese competitor. He led the field with four laps remaining in the second start before two Koreans took over.
However, a penalty to June Seo Lee, who crossed the finish line first, vaulted Girard into second spot behind Hyo Jun Lim.
WATCH | Penalty leads to Girard silver medal:
"Being able to perform at the world championships and finish the year strong was really my objective," said Girard, who also won silver in the 1,500 at the 2017 worlds.
He added a strategy to set the pace at the start allowed the Canadian to "surprise my competitors a bit and be in good position to win a medal."
I'm really going to try and focus on my technique to give myself a chance at another podium.— Canada's Kim Boutin on the women's 1,000-metre quarter-final on Sunday
Steven Dubois of Lachenaie, Que., placed fourth.
In the women's 3,000 relay, Kasandra Bradette, Camille de Serres-Rainville, Alyson Charles and Boutin qualified for Sunday's final, finishing second in their semifinal despite a fall in a time of 4:24.368. The Netherlands, Russia and Korea will provide the competition.
Also Sunday, Dubois, Hamelin and Boutin will compete in the 1,000 quarter-finals.
"The races here are taken to another level," Boutin said. "I'm really going to try and focus on my technique to give myself a chance at another podium."
The 3,000 super final will be comprised of the top eight athletes per gender over the 500, 1,000 and 1,500 distances.
Other Canadian results Saturday:
Kim Boutin: Fifth in 500 semifinal, ninth overall
Charles Hamelin: Third in the 500 quarter-final, 11th overall
Alyson Charles: Fourth in 500 quarter-final, 14th overall
Courtney Sarault: Fifth in 500 quarter-final, 19th overall
Steven Dubois: Penalized in 500 quarter-final, 19th overall
Canada won six medals at last year's worlds, including three gold by Charles Hamelin.
Live streaming coverage from Bulgaria continues Sunday at 8 a.m. ET at CBCSports.ca.