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Three Canadians place in top six at short track world junior championships

BOLZANO, Italy - Marie-Andree Mendes-Campeau, Guillaume Blais-Dufour and Vincent Cournoyer gave Canada three finishes in the top six Friday in the 1,500-metre finals at the short track speed skating world junior championships.

BOLZANO, Italy - Marie-Andree Mendes-Campeau, Guillaume Blais-Dufour and Vincent Cournoyer gave Canada three finishes in the top six Friday in the 1,500-metre finals at the short track speed skating world junior championships.

In the men's 1,500, Blais-Dufour of Quebec City placed fifth in 2:27.110, while Cournoyer of Boucherville, Que., was sixth in 2:27.830. South Korea swept the medals with Yun-Jae Kim taking gold in 2:25.121, Jung-Su Lee capturing silver and Han-Bin Lee finishing third for the bronze.

''I was pretty bagged in the final three laps," said Blais-Dufour, in a statement. ''Still I was pleased with my day and it went really well. My goal coming into these championships was one top-five finish. Now I'm hopeful for a medal this weekend."

Maxime Fortin of Riviere-du-Loup, Que., was eliminated in the semifinals to finish 13th overall.

In the women's 1,500, South Korea placed the top two finishers with Ah-Reum Noh taking gold in 2:29.565 and Eu-Byul Lee earning silver in 2:29.867. China's Qichao Zhang captured the bronze in 2:31.178. Montreal native Mendes-Campeau took fifth spot in 2:32.163.

''I'm very satisfied with my performance," said Mendes-Campeau. ''It was a very slow race at the start and I tried to stay up front as much as possible. I kept myself in contention throughout the race. The Koreans and Chinese skaters are tough to follow and you have to be very vigilant when they are behind you."

Valerie Lambert of Sherbrooke, Que., and Marianne St-Gelais of St-Felicien, Que., were eliminated in the semis to place 11th and 12th, respectively.

Canada advanced to the semifinals in both the men's and women's relays with the men winning their heat and the women placing second.

 
 
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