9th-16th March saw 27 British athletes heading to Sarajevo to represent Team GB at the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Six skating athletes were selected for the team, comprising of figure skaters, Genevieve Somerville and Jospeh Zakipour and short track skaters, Olivia Weedon, Theo Collins, Ollie Rowe and Sophie Robertson.
Excitingly Olivia Weedon was selected by her fellow athletes for the role of flagbearer after best displaying the One Team GB values at the pre-event Team Assembly. The Hounslow-born skater followed in her uncle Jon Eley’s footsteps, after he carried the Union Flag into the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
Short track speed skating was hosted in the Slavija Stadium, with all four skaters competing in the 500m, 1000m, 1500m and 3000m mixed relay respectively.
EYOF Flagbearer, Olivia Weedon led the way for short track speed skating by reaching the B final in the women’s 1500m and eventually completed her day in ninth position.
Weedon said, “In the (B) final, I actually surprised myself a lot. I came second which is pretty impressive and I’m pretty chuffed with myself.
“I’ve raced a lot better than I have been doing for the last couple of months and it’s just nice to actually feel like I’m finally getting somewhere and actually improving.”
Teammates, Theo Collins and Ollie Rowe missed out on the chance to qualify beyond the early stages of the competition, placing 25th and 27th while 15-year-old Sophie Robertson finished 31st during the heats.
The British quartet came together in the afternoon to take on the mixed relay for the very first time and came ninth overall, ruling out progression to the semi-final.
The quartet were all back in action individually later in the 500m. Flagbearer Weedon crossed the line fourth in the women’s quarter-finals to finish 15th overall, while 15-year old Robertson was knocked-out in the first round. In the men’s draw, Rowe and Collins both progressed through the first round before falling at the quarter-final stage.
In the 1000m which took place on Friday 15th, Collins progressed through the first round before being knocked out in the quarter-finals to eventually finish 17th, while Rowe placed 22nd. Weedon and Robertson both fell in the heats, finishing 26th and 31st respectively.
Genevieve Somerville and Joseph Zakipour both represented Team GB in the figure skating, with Zakipour recording a personal best in the men’s short programme with a score of 41.38. Taking place in the Juan Antonio Samarach Olympic Hall, where British legends Torvill and Dean won their 1984 Olympic Gold. Genevieve finished 21st in her short program and 23rd in the free, while Joseph placed both 14th in the short and in the free.
Well done to all of Team GB and especially our spectacular skating stars.