Yk speedskater still has hope of reaching Canadian OpenHannah Clark says she's still training on assumption she'll be heading to national event
Northern News Services
Friday, December 2, 2016
Hannah Clark had a much better outing this year at the Canadian Open National Qualifier, which wrapped up Sunday in Chicoutimi, Que.
Hannah Clark leads the pack during the 1,000 metre race at the Canadian Open National Qualifier in Chicoutimi, Que., on Nov. 26. - photo courtesy of CPV Chicoutimi
Not good enough to qualify automatically for the main event in January but there's still an outside chance she could be among the best in the country next month.
Clark ended up finishing 17th overall, scoring 4.872 points from her three races, a big improvement from her 32nd place finish last year.
She just missed out by the slimmest of margins as the top 14 move on to battle the top 16 women's skaters in the country for spots on the World Cup and World Championship
The race where Clark scored a majority of her points was in the 1,500-metre event, where she won the B final against seven opponents.
If you've ever seen short-track speedskating, you'll know eight skaters out on the ice can create plenty of traffic and havoc but Clark managed to avoid the danger and led nearly from wire to wire to claim 4,096 points.
"That was on the last day of the meet and I needed the points so badly," said Clark. "I knew I had to race well and thankfully, I managed to do it."
Each race final has a points value attached to it, which descends depending on placings. Winning the A final means 10,000 points and usually means you're home and safe in terms of qualification.
The 1,500-metre race, which is usually Clark's specialty, didn't go so well as she was forced to race in the D final, where she finished third to claim 675 points.
Clark qualified through the repechage (second chance) to get into the main draw for the 1,500 metre but she said bad luck caused her to fall back.
"I got jostled a bit and I ended up falling," she said. "It's tough but those are the breaks sometimes
The 500-metre race was almost like the 1,500-metre in that Clark was in the main draw but she was penalized for blocking, which meant automatic disqualification.
"I made an aggressive block in my race but I used too much of my arm to do it, according to the officials," she said.
She didn't get to race anymore in the 500-metre and was awarded 101 points based on final placings.
So now Clark has to play the waiting game to see if she'll advance to the big show next month but there is a Dixie cup's worth of hope.
Last year's Canadian Open saw the 21st place finisher end up being invited to compete.
Clark said she wants to qualify like it's nobody's business.
"You get skaters who are either injured or there's long-trackers who decline their entry so it may not happen but there's a chance," she said.
"I'm going to train on the assumption that I'll be going there and that's my plan