Ben Donnelly, Olivier Jean qualify for world single distance championships

Donnelly, Jean qualify for world single distance championships

CALGARY — Olivier Jean and Ben Donnelly have earned spots on the Canadian team that will take part in the 2017 ISU world single distance championships following their performances at the Canadian single distance championships on Friday.

Jean, of Lachenaie, Que., won the men’s mass start, finishing only 13 hundredths of a second ahead of Montreal’s Christopher Fiola to advance to February’s competition on the official ice of the 2018 Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea.

“It’ll be awesome to skate at my first world championships in long track,” said Jean, who previously skated short track. 

“Considering what I want to achieve, which is to win at the Olympic Games next year, I’m doing all the right things that are allowing me to head in the right direction week after week, and month after month.”

Toronto’s Jordan Belchos, who had already pre-qualified for the 2017 world championships in the mass start thanks to the results he came up with at the Fall World Cups, finished third.

Donnelly, of Oshawa, Ont., earned his place at the worlds by placing second in the men’s 1,500 metres in one minute 46.46.

Vincent de Haitre of Cumberland, Ont., won the event in 1:45.11, but has already pre-qualified in the distance — allowing Donnelly to advance. Denny Morrison (1:46.84) from Fort St. John, B.C., came third.

“I wanted it really bad, and I had to fight really hard during the last lap because I knew it would be close, but it ended well,” said Donnelly.

Ottawa’s Ivanie Blondin qualified for a fourth event at the 2017 worlds by winning the women’s 1,500.

Blondin (1:55.86), who had already pre-qualified for the 3,000, 5,000 and women’s mass start, picked up Canada’s second and last spot in the 1,500 by finishing ahead of Brianne Tutt (1:57.69) of Airdrie, Alta., who was already pre-qualified for the world championships, and Ottawa’s Isabelle Weidemann (1:58.43).

“I was really happy with the race, I was only one second away from my personal best, so that was positive,” said Blondin.

The Canadian Press