Sixteen-year-old Londoner, Peter Riches, has not only smashed the British Junior record at the World Junior long-track speed skating Championships in Salt Lake City, but amazingly skated the fastest 1500-metre time in the world for his age category.
A short-tracker from Aldwych speed skating club, Peter decided three years ago to try long-track during a weekend camp in Inzell, Germany, with trainers Piet Knip and Monique Vergeer-van Den Heuvel. He had an immediate feel and showed talent for the 400-metre version of his sport and continued to train for both long- and short-track speed skating.
For the last three years he has successfully combined the two. Although often a challenge as the UK has no 400-metre track, with the support from his parents he was able to travel as often as possible to The Hague in The Netherlands for long-track training organised by GB Long-track. This season he qualified for the Junior World Cup series where he showed huge improvements with every race, culminating in qualifying for the Junior World Championships.
The UK’s long-track speed skating has made a real comeback in recent years, with a great development programme being established as well as now having a number of skaters at International level.
This year saw three skaters at the senior world cups, four at junior level, the first World Cup medal with Ellia Smeding winning the under-23 mass start, and Cornelius Kersten qualifying for the World Sprint Championships and securing a placing of top-20.
“There have been numerous discussions over the years about combining the two disciplines of short- and long-track” says Phil Brojaka, Team GB coach, “but we believe combining both short and long track not only helps an athletes physical development but mental too. Jorien Te Mos proved at the Olympics that it is possible. Peter is another example of a skater that can benefit in competing in both sports”.
Peter has also qualified for the ISU European Junior Short-track Championships next weekend.
NISA would like to offer Peter MASSIVE congratulations, and to all those who have contributed to the success of GB Long-track!