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British speed skaters prepare for European leg of ISU World Cup

The GB Short Track Speed Skaters are currently in Dresden, Germany ahead of the first competition in the European stage of the ISU World Cup. The fifth and penultimate event in the 2014/15 ISU World Cup Series takes place this weekend, from Friday 6th to Sunday 8th February.

The competition consists of qualifying rounds on day one, followed by repechage events and finals on days two and three. The British athletes will be competing against over 200 of the world’s best skaters from 36 nations.

The squad, who are all part of the National Ice Skating Association’s World Class Short Track Programme, will be going into the competition with an extra boost of confidence after fellow team mate; Elise Christie was crowned European Champion at the end of last month.

Stuart Horsepool, Performance Director for GB Short Track commented: “Fresh out of the European Championships, the morale is high amongst the squad and Elise’s success has given them an extra boost. We need to remain focused on the task ahead though as speed skating is such an unpredictable sport. This weekend in Dresden and the final ISU World Cup competition in Turkey will provide the skaters with an ideal opportunity to put their training into practice on the world stage ahead of the ISU World Championships in five weeks time.

“We’ve had a mixed season so far, and we started off rusty, but that was to be expected at the start of a new Olympic cycle. As we’ve progressed through the season, I’ve seen big improvements in all of the skaters as they’ve developed their skills. It’s competitions like the ISU World Cup that really help them to hone their skills and learn from their mistakes”.

This weekend, Elise Christie and Charlotte Gilmartin will be racing in the ladies event. The men’s event will see Jack Whelbourne, Jon Eley, Richard Shoebridge, Paul Stanley, Billy Simms and Josh Cheetham competing against the rest of the world. The skaters will be racing across three distances: 500, 1,000m and 1,500m. There will also be a men’s relay team racing over 5,000m.

The competition will take place at the EnergieVerbund Arena in Dresden, Germany. The skaters will then head across to Akzia in Turkey for the final competition in the 2014/15 ISU World Cup Series, which takes place from Friday 13th to Sunday 15th February.

Stuart added: “The rink in Dresden is very well maintained, so we’re expecting some high speed racing and some fast times”.

Live results from the weekend can be found at http://shorttrack.sportresult.com.

The competition will be streamed live on http://livemanager.eurovision.edgesuite.net/isu/index.html.