The British Championships for Long-track Speed Skating take place this weekend in Den Haag, Netherlands, at the end of a very busy (and successful!) year for the programme.
Sue Smeding, who helps support the programme and is mother of Ellia Smeding, who is fresh from achieving the qualification standard for the 2019-20 Senior World Cups, provides this update:
It is nearly the end of the Longtrack season but everyone is gearing up for the final event: The British Championship this weekend in The Hague. Some 38 UK skaters and 15 non-Brits will be battling out in the various categories. As with any event, there are a few clashes so not full attendance but it promises to be a fun and competitive weekend.
The team have had a very successful last few weeks. A record four skaters qualified for The Viking Race (European Youth Championships) with two top-10 classifications.
Gemma Cooper trained and raced in Inzell preparing herself for the championships and Ellia Smeding and Cornelius Kersten went to compete in Calgary to compete in the Olympic Oval Finale. It was a mixed weekend for our skaters. A weekend that summarises life in elite sport with all its ups and downs. Ellia had the weekend she had hoped for breaking 2 national records and achieving a senior world cup qualification time for next season. However, Cornelius was not able to show his best and race due to not yet being fully recovered from his groin injury.
We wish all competitors a fantastic competition and a great experience all-round!