MONTREAL — Just when Courtney Sarault thought she had nothing left in the tank, the Canadian speedskater dug deep to overcome pain and fatigue.
Despite not feeling in top shape, Sarault won another silver medal for Canada on the second day of the inaugural ISU Four Continents short-track speedskating championship on Sunday.
The Moncton, N.B., native finished second in the women’s 1,000-metre race and claimed the third spot in the weekend’s overall classification.
“This weekend was all about battling through pain and fighting when you don’t think you can fight,” said the 19-year-old. “It took me a whole day to realize that, to get that through my head and accept that I wasn’t going to feel 100 per cent.
“Once I changed my mindset, it was really good for me. It was a good experience to race when I’m not feeling at my best. It will make me feel more confident for my other races.”
The women’s 1,000 final saw Sarault cross the finish line in 1:33.014, behind South Korea’s Choi Min Jeong, in 1:32.712. Montreal’s Alyson Charles finished fifth.
Sarault held her own against three South Korean skaters and her teammate Charles. The Canadian was third with two laps to go when she made a bold double move on the outside to take the lead, before being passed by Choi on the final lap.
The silver was Sarault’s second medal of the weekend after claiming bronze in the 500 on Saturday.
“I went into it with nothing to lose,” added Sarault, who also has three individual World Cup medals this short-track season. “Yesterday I struggled, thinking about my legs and being tired. Today I decided to forget about that and get into the race.
“It worked because I forgot whatever was going on with my legs and I raced with my heart.”
The Canadians won six individual medals over the weekend — five silver and one bronze. Canada’s women and men’s relay teams also both claimed silver.
Steven Dubois of Lachenaie, Que. won Canada’s other individual silver medal on Sunday, finishing second in the men’s 1,000 in 1:27.897. With two laps to go, he found an extra gear and jumped from last place into second behind South Korea’s Hwang Dae Heon, who finished in 1:27.719.
While making the double move, Dubois gently nudged veteran teammate Charles Hamelin, who finished fourth by two one-hundredths of a second behind South Korea’s Park Ji Won.
“I was in a bad position so I needed to gain some speed,” said the 22-year-old Dubois, who also picked up silver medals in the 500 and 1,500 on Saturday. “There was a three-person wall in front of me. I saw a small opening on the inside on Charles. I didn’t want to impede on his race.
“I should have hesitated more than I did. I really hurt his race. I thought I could make it by him cleanly.”
The five-time Olympic medallist Hamelin admitted he was surprised to see his teammate attempt the passing.
“I won’t hide that I was upset,” said the 35-year-old Hamelin. “That’s short track though. It’s not always teddy bears and rainbows. I was mad for a short while, that’s how I am. But two minutes later, I was OK. There’s no bad blood.”
The Canadians did well overall in front of their home fans at Maurice Richard Arena but the event was dominated by South Korea.
Choi and Hwang controlled the competition from start to finish. Choi won all four of her races for a complete sweep of the women’s podiums while Hwang won three golds.
The South Koreans ended the weekend with 15 individual medals, including eight gold. They also won both team relays.
Canada failed to medal in the rarely seen 3,000-metre super final. Hamelin finished fourth while Dubois came in sixth on the men’s side. Sarault was fifth and Charles seventh for the women.
Canadian star Kim Boutin, who is suffering from a tendinitis in her left knee, withdrew from the competition for precautionary reasons.
Notes: Next up for the Canadians is the World Cup in Dresden, Germany beginning Feb. 7. â¦ Canada has claimed 13 individual and five team medals on the current World Cup circuit.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 12, 2020.