Yesterday, Great Britain’s Short Track Speed Skater Charlotte Gilmartin took bronze medal in the 500m final at the ISU European Championships. It follows a medal rush set by world record holder Elise Christie at the start of the 2016/2017 season.
Gilmartin at 26 years old, was the eldest and most experienced of the nine British athletes in attendance at the annual ISU European Championships in Torino, Italy. Alongside her were Kathryn Thomson, Jennifer Pickering, Hannah Morrison, Farrell Treacy, Joshua Cheetham, Billy Simms, Jack Burrows and Jonathan Moody.
For Jack Burrows and Jonathan Moody it was their first taste of an international senior competition and has gained them experience and confidence going into the ISU World Junior Championships later this month in Austria.
Jack Burrows, 19, commented: “It’s been really interesting watching world champions racing here and seeing new tactics. We’ve learnt a lot about ourselves as a relay team, where the strengths lie and what combinations work.
“As a young team we’re looking long term to the 2022 Olympics. I’ll definitely be taking away some of the positives and learning from this weekend going into the Junior Worlds. My aim is to continue to be relaxed, confident and proactive. My goal is to get to the finals there.”
In the individual events today there were opportunities for both Charlotte Gilmartin and Farrell Treacy in the 1000m event, with both athletes progressing to the semi finals. Unfortunately Gilmartin was awarded a penalty.
Despite leading early on in the men’s race Treacy narrowly missed out on a place in the finals. He was up against some of the world’s best skaters; world ranked number four Shaolin Sandor Liu of Hungary, Russia’s Victor An and Semen Elistratov, who went on to win overall gold at this championships.
In the 3000m Super Final, Charlotte Gilmartin took 4th place, however, displayed excellent acceleration and overtaking skills towards the end of the race. The race is an opportunity to pick up points at different stages which works well for her style of racing.
Without the presence of Elise Christie, the ladies competition has been dominated this year by the experienced Arianna Fontana of Italy, winning her 6th European Championships. Gilmartin finished in 8th place overall.
Charlotte is now looking ahead to training ahead of the next ISU World Cup on 3rd February saying: “I’ve taken a lot from these Championships and have been particularly pleased with my speed, but I am going to go back and work on maintaining that speed and build confidence in my starts.”
For the GB team there were notable good performances from the weekend. Along with the bronze medal for Charlotte there were the overall qualifications from the team; 10 out of 12 on Friday, another personal best for Joshua Cheetham in the 500m and technical improvements in the men’s relay team who finished 2nd place in the B final behind Belarus.
Charlotte went on to say: “It’s been really positive seeing the confidence of the juniors coming through at their first major Championships, there has been some good skating overall technically and tactically. Making a semi final in the men’s relay was a big achievement for a new team.”