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Greig hungry for PyeongChang experience

Published 9 February 2017 (AEDT)

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SPEED SKATING: Daniel Greig will get his first look at the 2018 Olympic track on Friday when he competes at the World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships in Gangneung, South Korea.

Australia’s top long track speed skater has qualified for both the 500m and 1000m event at the Championships, which double as an Olympic Test Event.

However, a back injury after the last World Cup in Berlin has forced Greig to change up his game plan for the two races.

“If you had asked me a week ago before Berlin, my goal for this event would have been quite different,” the 25-year-old said.

“Now my goal is to race two solid, stable races and then look ahead to the World Sprint Speed Skating Championships in Calgary, Canada, in two weeks-time - where I really want to go for it.”

A strong run last weekend saw Greig crack the top-10 in the second 1000m race in Berlin.

He also placed 19th in the A-Division final of the men’s 500m event, 0.93 of a second behind the winner from the host nation.

He since has been forced to take time off the ice due to the injury that flared up after his three races in Germany.

This slight setback has not, however, altered his overall season goals.

“My aim for this season is to keep the results moving forward in the right direction, building all the way to the Olympics, rather than peak at one of these earlier events.

“So far I have hit all my goals for this season.”

With PyeongChang now on the horizon, the South Australian is expecting large crowds at Gangneung Oval and is keen to seeing how his competitors handle the important competition.

“The pressure everyone puts on themselves is a lot higher at this event. It’s interesting to see how my competitors react under increased pressure.

“It’s important you know how to expect them to perform so there are no surprises in the race.”

What is happening off the ice is just as important to Greig as the racing itself.

In a sport where the difference between a gold and silver medal is literally a thousandth of a second, Grieg said he needs to be able to “control all external factors.”

“It will be good to see how the Korean Organising Committee react to different situations and how they run the event.”

“Short track speed skating is won in the preparations.”

The ISU World Single Distances Championships will be held from 9-12 February in Gangneung, South Korea. Greig competes in the 500m event at 8pm AEDT Friday, and the 1000m event at 8.40pm AEDT Saturday.

Georgia Thompson

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