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UK Longtrack Speedskating hopefuls given boost for Olympic aspirations

The Olympic Solidarity Fund (OSF) and British Olympic Association (BOA) have given UK Longtrack a real boost by awarding an Olympic Solidarity Fund grant to one of its top skaters, Cornelius Kersten.

The fast and exciting sport of longtrack speedsksting has made a huge resurgence in popularity in the UK recent years from three active skaters in 2012 to 74 competing skaters currently.  “We now have skaters participating in the European Youth Championships, Junior World Cups, the student Winter Universiade, as well as Masters World Games. Our next goals are the ISU World Cups and, of course, the big one, the Olympic Winter Games,” said Longtrack Development Manager Stephen Airey.

Qualification for PyeongChang 2018 is achieved by reaching the qualification times during the ISU World Cups in October - December 2017. The OSF is targeted to help potential Olympians with their efforts for Olympic qualification. Being awarded such a grant takes a huge amount of financial pressure away from athletes who are often struggling with demanding training schedules, as well as school, study or work commitments and enables them to concentrate more on their training.  It is great show of support and trust from the OSF and the BOA who monitor the use of the fund.

There are currently three British skaters (Scott Anderson from Dundee,  Allison Bates currently studying in Calgary and Cornelius Kersten studying in The Netherlands) who are only a few tenths of a second away from ISU World Cup Qualification and are actively pursuing Olympic Qualification for PyeongChang 2018.  Cornelius, 22, who is currently studying Technical Business Studies in Amsterdam, skates in Haarlem, The Netherlands, for Team Beyond.  “I am training hard and am really motivated to reach my targets this year.  This fund is a real confidence booster that will also give me additional financial support allowing me to fully focus on getting faster,” said Kersten.  

“We are very proud of our skaters and the huge effort they put into their training.  They are a great inspiration to other young up and coming skaters and it’s super to see that their hard work and their sport are being recognised by such a respected organisation. We are excited, not only for the help this gives to Cornelius, but also by the prospects for further growth in the sport that such an award provides,” added Airey.