Daniel Hall wins mass start silver; men’s Team Pursuit brings home historic gold; men’s and women’s Team Sprint race to silver, bronze
HACHINOHE CITY, JAPAN – Canada left their mark on the final day of racing at the ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships in Japan by bringing home four medals, including a historic gold in the men’s Team Pursuit and a first ever medal in the women’s Team Sprint.
The trio of Luca Veeman (Saskatoon, Sask.), Daniel Hall (Calgary, Alta.) and Max Poulin (Calgary, Alta.) earned Canada’s first medal of the competition, winning gold in the Team Pursuit with a time of 3:49.25, placing them ahead of Norway (+0.19) and the host Japanese (+3.88). It was Canada’s first ever gold medal in the distance, and the country’s first podium since 2016, when Tyson Langelaar, Connor Howe and David La Rue won silver in Helsinki.
Veeman and Poulin were joined by teammate and fellow Calgarian Jalen Doan a short while later for the Team Sprint, where they raced to a silver medal with a time of 1:23.20, placing them narrowly ahead of Poland (1:23.25), but behind Norway (1:22.77). Canada’s last medal in the event dated back to 2017.
Also making history on Saturday were Camille Tremblay (Rimouski, Que.), Skylar Van Horne (Winnipeg, Man.) and Julia Snelgrove (Dartmouth, N.S.), who captured Canada’s first ever World Junior Championship medal in the women’s Team Sprint, picking up bronze with a time of 1:32.66. They were joined on the podidium by the Netherlands (1:29.60) and Kazakhstan (1:31.28).
The final event of the day saw Calgary’s Hall repeat as vice-champion in the men’s Mass Start, crossing the finish line with a time of 5:24.67. The defending national champion stood atop the podium alongside a pair of hometown skaters in gold medalist Yuta Fuchigami and bronze medalist Taiki Shingai. He becomes the first Canadian to win multiple Mass Start medals at the World Junior Championships.
Canada finished the competition with four medals and had three skaters crack the top-10 in the allround rankings. Poulin and Hall placed ninth and tenth in the men’s standings, respectively, while Julie Snelgrove finished tenth in the women’s standings. Full competition results can be found here.
“I’m kind of over the moon and still in disbelief, especially with the Team Pursuit gold. I knew we had a strong team and would be in the running for a medal, but Norway has a lot of horsepower so I wasn’t super confident we would get the win, so crossing the line and seeing Number 1 was an incredible feeling! We’ve been practicing for a while and got lots of help from National Team skaters back in Calgary, like Vince De Haître and Jordan Belchos. The thing that helped us out the most was consistency. For me leading, my main job is to be as consistent as possible in every straightaway and every corner so the guys behind me can skate smoothly and push me forward. Just wanted to nail every entry and keep the same number of strides. I think consistency on the track pattern is what helped us win gold.”
“We practiced the Team Pursuit a lot, back in Calgary and here in Japan. Every warmup we would practice it, so I think we were just super in synch and working together. For the last few laps, I was just trying to hang on. I didn’t know we had the gold until the race ended. I looked up at the board and was waiting for the times to adjust, but we stayed first, and I could not believe it!”
“I don’t think any of us were really expecting this. We were the third pair so there was a bit of pressure just watching the races go by after you, but coming third was pretty much a shock I would say. It was pretty cool stepping on the podium. You’re not just doing by yourself but with two other teammates, so it was cool to be up there experiencing it with Julia and Camille.”