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Four top ten world finishes for British speed skaters

This weekend (7-9 November), the Great British Short Track speed skaters claimed four top ten finishes at the first ISU World Cup of the 2014-15 season. The event, which took place in Salt Lake City, USA, saw the senior squad compete against the best speed skaters from around the globe.

Elise Christie and Jack Whelbourne led the way for the Brits with some solid performances. Christie raced to the final of the 1000m and took fourth place overall after finishing second in her semi final. She also came top in her semi final race in the 1500m distance, finishing in fifth in the final.

Whelbourne broke the British record in the A final of the 1000m, racing to a fourth place finish, which put him in 7th place overall in the 1000m classification.

Whelbourne commented on the weekend: “Coming from what I thought was a bit of a disappointing performance in the 1500m, I re-focused my attention towards the 1000m race where I broke the existing British record and got a top four finish, which was a good motivational boost. I’ll now be working to bridge the gap with the rest of the world and improve my performance in the competitions that lie ahead.

National Coach, Nicky Gooch commented: “On the whole, the skaters performed pretty well this weekend. We narrowly missed out on a couple of medals which was disappointing, but this was only our second international event of the current season and we can’t always expect everything to work out straight away.

“Jack skated particularly well this weekend, beating his own record in the 1000m A final. It’s also been a few years since we’ve had a male and female skater in the A final on the same day, which is something we can take away from this weekend’s competition.”

Charlotte Gilmartin skated well this weekend, with two top twelve finishes in her races (10th place in the 500m and 12th place in the 1000m). She put in a strong performance to reach the quarterfinal heats in both distances, finishing third in both races. Jon Eley also performed well, with two top 16 finishes in the 1000m and 500m distances.

Gooch said: “Jon skated ambitiously this weekend and he was penalised a couple of times, which happens in our sport. The key thing is that he was on form and raced well and had it not been for the penalties he received, he would have qualified for the semi finals.

The junior squad were also representing Great Britain at the Alta Valtellina Trophy in Bornio, Italy this weekend (6-9 November). There were some good performances amongst the skaters, with Kathryn Thomson claiming Gold in the 500m to finish third overall and Jack Burrows skating his way to two finals to finish fifth in the overall classification.

The senior squad now look ahead to World Cup 2 (14-16 November) this weekend in Montreal, Canada.

Gooch added: “As it’s only our second international competition of the season so far, the skaters must learn from their experiences here and build on them at the World Cup in Canada this weekend. Looking ahead to Canada and beyond, we’ll be working on a few new strategies and looking to close the gap between Team GB and the rest of the world.”

The coming weekend’s competition in Canada will be streamed live on http://livemanager.eurovision.edgesuite.net/isu/index.html.

Live results can be found at shorttrack.sportresult.com