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GB Speed Skaters prepare for final World Cups

The GB Short Track Speed Skating performance team are in Dresden, Germany where the fifth ISU World Cup this season is taking place (3rd to the 5th February) at the EnergieVerbund Arena.

The heats start today, and the women’s team for world cup 5 are made up of, Charlotte Gilmartin, Kathryn Thomson, Jennifer Pickering, and Hannah Morrison. The men’s team are, Farrell Treacy, Billy Simms, Josh Cheetham and Aydin Djemal. New additions to the men’s team are Jack Burrows and Jonathan Moody who both competed in the Junior World Championships last weekend. Burrows, 19, set a new British junior record in the 500m of 41.958 seconds and finished 7th in the world over that distance.

500m world record holder Elise Christie (picutred), who traveled with the team to Germany has been ruled out of racing this weekend due to concussion suffered last week whilst in the UK. It is a huge disappointment for both Elise and the team, she had been aiming to finish the world cup season with number one ranking in both the 500m and 1000m events, which will now be difficult to achieve through missing this event.

26 year old Elise has so far this season been on top form, setting the new world record in the 500m (42.335 seconds) in Salt Lake City at world cup 2, as well as three 500m and two 1,000m gold medals across the 2016/2017 world cup season. This puts her currently in number one position in the world cup rankings for the 500m ahead of Kexin Fan of China and Marianna St Gelais of Canada, and number two behind Choi Minjeong of Korea in the 1,000m. Christie will be hoping to be allowed to compete in world cup 6 on 10th - 12th February in Belarus to have a chance to retain the number one spot in the 500m.

Stewart Laing, GB Short Track Performance Director said: "Whilst this is disappointing to not to have Elise racing this weekend, we take any head injury seriously. The team have a return to racing policy which our medical team follow to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the athletes.

"The rest of the team have had a really good run up to the competition in their final training preparation - ice is fast, and the team are skating with confidence, we should be set for some great racing this weekend."

Charlotte Gilmartin 26, who won a European Bronze medal last month, is currently 7th place in the 1,500m world cup rankings and will be targeting her first world cup medal of the season. Gilmartin has played an important role in the success of the ladies relay team so far, who broke the British record with a time of 4:13.719 at the beginning of the season in Calgary.

There will be two 1,500m events taking place at this World Cup (one distance is doubled up at each World Cup). The 2016/2017 World Cup series will conclude in Minsk, Belarus 10th - 12th February.