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Lockett wins first Short Track World Cup medal

Published 2 October 2017 (AEDT)

SAPPORO, JAPAN - FEBRUARY 21: Helen Deanna Lockett of Australia competes in the Women's 500 metre Short Track Speed Skating on day four of the 2017 Sapporo Asian Winter Games at Makomanai Indoor Skating Rink on February 21, 2017 in Sapporo, Japan. © 2017 Getty Images

SHORT TRACK: Patience has paid off for Australia’s short track speed skating queen Deanna Lockett, who has won her first medal in the opening World Cup of the season in the Ladies 1500 metres in Budapest, Hungary over the weekend.

The 21-year-old is considered a dark horse against the power house nations in short track speed skating but with cool, smart racing the Sochi Olympian relied on her training and belief to win her first World Cup medal and Australia’s first Ladies 1500 metre medal.

“I’m really excited. It’s my first ever medal. I skated a good semi and was just thinking calm, calm, calm and then skated like I’ve been doing in training,” Lockett said.

Lockett admitted to being ‘antsy’ in the opening heats, which she comfortably made through before a different racer came to the starting line for the semiSitting at the back of the eight-woman semi-final pack, Lockett bided her time until three laps to go when she comfortably powered through the field, avoiding mishaps by other racers and easily taking second.

“Patience worked in my favour. I was antsy in the first couple of the rounds because it was the first race of the season. I watched the semi before mine and I knew a lot of people were fighting at the beginning, so I sat back in my semi and waited,” she said.

“We predicted what would happen in my race. I spent 24 hours thinking patience and calm with Barbara (OWIA psychologist Barbara Meyer) and it all paid off.”

Qualifying into the A Final and medal race, Lockett again used patience and strategy, for by now her strength and ability to accelerate on demand had been demonstrated.

Sitting again in the back, Deanna waited and came through in the final lap to take bronze in a time of 2.33.555 behind Min Jeong Choi (Korea) in 2.33.025 and Kim Bouton from Canada 2.33.096.

“This result is good for Australian short track,” Lockett added. “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. I think I will give this medal to my mum, I think she’ll be even happier for it.”

Lockett moved to Korea after the Sochi Olympics to undertake a massive training program that she hopes will deliver qualification to PyeongChang in three individual events (500m, 1000m and 1500m).

“I didn’t do well in the 1000 because I wasn’t patient. I’m more prepared now for next week at the second World Cup in the Netherlands.”

The 500m all out speed race is a less favoured distance for the Brisbanite.

“I went out in the 500m after being in lane 5 in the second heat but it was much, much better than previous years and looks like I can qualify in that distance, so I will keep trying my best.”

Chief Referee Jim Hewish and long-time past President of Ice Racing Australia presented the medals.

“It was really good to have Jim, being an Australian, present the medals,” Lockett said. 

The Australian men recorded some encouraging results with the best being Andy Jung who made the quarter finals in the 500m.

Mens 1500m: Andy Jung third in 1500m preliminaries and qualified to the heats where he placed fourth and did not progress. Pierre Boda and Josh Kah were fourth and sixth respectively in the preliminaries and did not advance.

Mens 1000m: Pierre Boda and Andy Jung both went out in the heats. Alex Bryant had to settle for Preliminaries only.

Mens 500m: Andy Jung won his preliminary and was fifth in his quarter final. Keanu Blunden and Pierre Bodawrnt out in the preliminaries.

Men’s 5000m relay: Pierre Boda, Keanu Blunden, Alex Bryant and Liam O’Brien finished third in their heat and did not advance in the top two teams.

The second of four short track World Cups and Olympic qualifiers takes place in Dordrecht, The Netherlands from October 5 to 8. Details here

Belinda Noonan

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