Elise Christie shone at the Invitation Cup in Heerenveen, Holland this weekend (18-19thOctober) after winning all three individual distances (500m, 1000m and 1500m) to finish first in the overall classification on points. This is her fifth consecutive win at the competition, which sees the squad compete in their first international race of the 2014-15 season.
Christie commented on her win: “It was great to be back competing this weekend and to come away with a good result. The first international race of the season is always a challenge, as you are going into it blind without really knowing who your key competition is, but I was confident amongst the other skaters and was able to use it as an opportunity to try different tactics and sharpen my skills. I will try to take as much as I can from here and build on it going into Salt Lake City.”
Performance Director, Stuart Horsepool said: “Elise really stood out as the winner in the women’s racing from the start this weekend. She was much stronger than the other girls, which meant that she has been able to use the competition as an opportunity to try out different strategies and ways of racing, yet still finish in top position.
“As we focus our attention towards the World Cup Series which starts next month, Elise will begin to come up against her main competition in some of the Korean, Chinese and Canadian skaters. These races will be more of a challenge for her, so having this opportunity to perfect her skills and put everything from training into practice in a competitive environment has been invaluable going into the start of the season”.
In the men’s competition, Jack Whelbourne skated consistently to take second place in the overall classification after racing through to the final of the 1000m and winning. On Saturday, he came second in 1500m, coming in closely behind Hungary’s Sandor Liu Shaolin. Charlotte Gilmartin also put in some good performances to finish third in the 1500m, which put her in fifth place overall in the women’s event.
There was also a top ten overall classification finish from Richard Shoebridge who finished ninth, and the men’s relay team finished third behind Hungary and the Netherlands. Unfortunately, Jon Eley didn’t skate on Sunday due to a hamstring strain.
The event was a preparation competition for the squad ahead of the start of the ISU World Cup Series, which begins early next month (7-9th November) in Salt Lake City.
Stuart said he was pleased with the whole squad’s performance in Heerenveen, where they have beaten some of the best teams in Europe, including the Dutch who are reigning world champions. He added:
“It was a good competition overall. The first day was a bit of a shake up for the squad after some initial performances that weren’t quite up to standard, but they soon got into their stride and started skating well, with some good results to back it up. The idea of a preparation competition is that the athletes get back into competing, because even though training is of course vital, the nature of short track means that you also have to be sharp when you race.
“Elise and Jack did well this weekend, but the true value of this competition is not the titles they have won here, but the race practice that they and the squad now take into the World Cup in a few weeks time.”
The squad now begin their final preparations for the opening ISU World Cup in Salt Lake City on 7-9th November, followed by the second stage in Montreal on the 14-16th November.
For a full list of results from the Invitation Cup, go to www.shorttrackonline.info. For more information on GB Short Track, visit www.gbshorttrack.org.