Strong Short Track team show resilience at 2nd World Cup
Published 9 October 2017 (AEDT)
SHORT TRACK: The Aussie short track team are reaching new speeds in the pursuit of Olympic qualification and a couple of penalties at the second Short Track Speed Skating World Cup in Dordrecht could not dampen their spirits.
Off the back of a 1500m bronze medal at the World Cup in Budapest last weekend, Deanna Lockett was hungry for more in the Netherlands and easily cruised through the 1500m heat on Friday evening.
The 21-year-old went on to finish fifth in her semi-final, missing a finals birth by a tenth of a second.
The Sochi Olympian then placed second in both her 1000m preliminary and heat races before lining up in the quarter-final where it appeared she was hard done by to be penalised following an incident with Dutch skater Suzanne Schulting in the final few laps which saw the end of Lockett’s World Cup 2 campaign.
There appeared to be minimal contact between Lockett and Schulting but after the Australian finished second she was eventually disqualified from the race and Schulting advanced despite crashing out.
Similarly, Andy Jung placed second in his 500m preliminary, heat and quarter-final races, before he was unfortunately penalised in the semi-final and missed out on a medal chance.
However Jung’s intelligent racing strategies and consistent speed show he is in fine form and a medal contender for future events.
“I’m very disappointed with the race result, but at least I know I can stand on the podium and bring back a gold for Australia,” Jung told Australian Ice Racing.
“Thanks to everyone back home for supporting me.”
President of Australian Ice Racing, Frank Anderson, said while the penalties were disappointing, they did not reflect the great shape the team is in.
“This World Cup showed the rest of the world that Australia is on a mission to secure Olympic gold,” Anderson said.
“Penalties against Andy and Deanna do not dampen the drive of the skaters to qualify for PyeongChang.
“Penalties always leave a bitter taste but the team have rallied behind Deanna and Andy and they look forward to the next two World Cups seeking redemption with the goal of qualifying positions for Australia at the Games. We are very placed to do that.
“I am pleased with a solid start to the first half of an Olympic season.”
Sochi 2014 Olympian Pierre Boda advanced from the 500m, 1000m and 1500m preliminaries to line up in the heats, finishing fourth in his 500m and 1500m heats, and fifth in the 1000m heats.
Young guns Alex Bryant, Liam O’Brien and Keanu Blunden also had strong races and will greatly benefit from the World Cup experience.
Bryant and Blunden joined the more experienced Jung and Boda in the men’s 5000m relay where they finished fourth in their heat and did not advance to the quarter-finals.
Australian Short Track Head Coach Lachlan Hay said there were some good racing coming out of Dordrecht and the team will need to keep up the strong form to secure quota places for Australia at next year’s Winter Olympics.
“We’ve had some pretty strong results from the guys and of course Deanna as well,” Hay said.
“Trying to be consistent will be key over these four World Cup competitions. It’s one thing to have a good result, but then not ideal to crash out the next weekend.
“We need to look for consistency to get those [Olympic] qualifying sports.
“Pierre has improved a lot since last season and I think he’s going to be able to continue that throughout the year. Plus we’ve got three young guys on the World Cup team which aren’t as experienced but they’re showing really good signs.”
Full results from the World Cup are available here.
The next World Cup will start on November 9th in Shanghai, China.
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