It was a changing of the guard at the Canadian short track speed skating championships on Sunday as 23-year-old Courtney Sarault and 22-year-old William Dandjinou were crowned women’s and men’s champions, respectively, in Montreal.
Sarault of Moncton, N.B., finished with 19,000 points across her four best distances, which just edged 28-year-old Kim Boutin’s 18,000 points and 19-year-old Florence Brunelle’s 13,960 points.
Across the three-day event, Sarault earned a pair of gold medals in the 1,000-metre races, a gold in the 500m race, and a silver and bronze in the two 1,500m races — both of which were won by Boutin.
“It’s really big,” Sarault said in a release. “I don’t have the words right now – I just want to live in the moment. I had good preparation and it paid off. There were several moments at the start of the competition where I just wanted to get as many points as possible.”
Finishing up a weekend of racing at the Canadian Short Track Championships presented by <a href=”https://twitter.com/IntactInsurance?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@IntactInsurance</a> 🙌 We celebrate the winners of the second 1000m race as well as our newly crowned canadian champions Courtney Sarault and William Dandjinou 🏆✨ <a href=”https://t.co/7WMlbw73V9″>pic.twitter.com/7WMlbw73V9</a>
Sarault was able to secure the overall victory in the second 1,000m race on Sunday, where her time of one minute and 32.805 seconds just narrowly topped Boutin’s time of 1:32.990.
“After my first two victories, I saw that it was possible to go for the Canadian title, said Sarault. “This last day, I saw it as all or nothing. I had already qualified for the World Cups and had the chance to win it all, and I went for it.”
The three-time defending national champion Boutin finished no worse than second in all six of her events, each of which she has medalled in across the 2018 and 2022 Olympic Games.
Sarault attended the 2022 Olympics, where she narrowly missed the podium in the women’s 3,000m relay with a fourth-place finish, and has won seven total medals (three silver, four bronze) during her international skating career at the world championships.
Dandjinou makes mark in men’s event
While Sarault was able to put an end to a three-year streak by Boutin, Dandjinou of Sherbrooke, Que., was able to do the same to 26-year-old Steven Dubois, outscoring the Terrebonne, Que., native 19,000-18,000.
The main difference ended up being Dandjinou sweeping the pair of 1,500m races on the weekend with Dubois taking silver in both. Dandjinou’s time of 2:17.407 in the second race beat Dubois by just 0.168 seconds.
“It feels amazing to win the overall title,” Dandjinou said. “Coming into the competition, I knew I wanted to be battling for the title, but I wasn’t sure if my legs would hold up. I have been working hard this summer and felt my legs were pretty loaded from training, so I’m really proud of myself for pulling this off.”
The clinching moment came on Sunday in the second 1,000m race, where Dandjinou’s time of 1:25,592 beat Dubois’s mark of 1:26.092.
Dandjinou has won one medal on the World Cup circuit, which he claimed in Dordrecht, Netherlands, during the 2021/22 season in the men’s 5,000m relay.
The International Skating Union (ISU) World Cup short track circuit begins on Oct. 20 in Montreal.
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