Keanu Blunden and Andy Jung have represented Australia at the 2019 ISU Short Track Speed Skating World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, with both athletes recording a top 20 performance.
Blunden was the best performing Australian athlete with an overall ranking of 25th across all thee distances, the best overall placing by an Australian male since 2014, with Jung in 46th place.
In the 1000m, Blunden reached the quarter-final round to record a final place of 17th. Blunden also competed in the 500m, finishing 26th and 35th in the 1500m.
Jung reached the semi-final stage in the 1500m, finishing in 18th place, was 50th in the 500m, but unfortunately received a yellow card in the 1000m.
The World Championships marks the final event for the Short Track athletes for the international season.
IMAGE - Keanu Blunden (left) and Andy Jung (right) with AIR Short Track Speed Skating National Coach Richard Nizielski (middle) at the World Championships in Bulgaria © Australian Ice Racing Incorporated Facebook Page
Keanu Blunden has recorded an impressive 13th place performance in the 1500m at the Short Track Speed Skating World Cup event in Torino, Italy.
The 13th place result is the highest by an Australian in the 2018-2019 season.
Blunden advanced through to the B final round, where he finished third, giving him a final ranking of 13th, an impressive result for the 20-year-old skater.
Competing in the 1000m, Blunden was also the leading Australian for the distance, with a 22nd place performance.
Also in action for Australia was 2018 Olympian Andy Jung (23rd 500m #1, 24th 1000m), Skyler Kah (38th 500m#1, 45th 1000m), Joshua Kah (46th 500m #1, 39th 500m#2) and Liam O'Brien (43rd 500m#2 and 52nd 1500m).
The men's relay team also had an improved performance of 11th from a field of 18 countries.
With Torino being the final World Cup for the season, the next event on the schedule is the World Championships, which will take place in Sofia, Bulgaria, from March 8-10.
IMAGE - The Short Track arena in Torino, Italy
The Olympic Flame was extinguished at the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 25, bringing the 2018 Winter Games to an end.
As temperatures hovered around minus 4 degrees, an audience of 35,000 gathered to reflect on 17 action packed days and record-breaking
performances by more than 3,000 athletes from 92 teams around the world.
Silver Olympic medallist Jarryd Hughes was beaming with pride as he carried the Australian flag into the stadium during the Parade of Athletes.
"It was a surreal experience getting to carry the flag," he said.
"It was just a great cherry on top to a great Olympics and I think that South Korea have done an amazing job.
"It's a lot looser than the Opening Ceremony, so it's good just to end on this note ... it's definitely a great final ending to a four year cycle and it's been great but right now it's about time to start back on the next four years and Beijing 2022 here we come."
Walking ahead of his teammates, the 22-year-old said that the highlight of the night was when "everyone rushed to me, got in and had a big team group moment".
"I think that sums up the entire Australian Olympic Team here, it's just been a big family," he said.
"[It's] the best Team ever, just because of the atmopshere it was just such a great Team and I don't think I've ever seen anything like this and I think we do have to credit the bobsleigh boys [for that], they have been the heart and soul of this team.
"It has been amazing having them around and just enjoying it, they've kept it super light and I think all the credit is to go to them."
As one would expect, there was plenty of K-Pop during the evening with singer CL (Lee Chae-rin) belting out 'The Baddest Female' with 20 dancers and group EXO performing, entering the arena on chrome-plated four wheelers.
President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, said that regardless of the Flame's extinguishment, "what will continue to shine are those magnificant moments we have experienced here in PyeongChang, especially the exceptional performances of the world's best winter sports athletes".
"Throughout the Games, they have astounded us with their achievements, and inspired us by competing in the Olympic spirit of excellence, respect and fair play," he said.
"Over the last 17 days, the PyeongChang Games have brought people together, shwoing the world the unifying power of sport. PyueongChang 2018 will remain as a moment for everyone to shine."
The Republic of Korea's President, Moon Jae-In, said that the Winter Games had "been a step bringing us closer to realising peace", adding that he hoped the last 17 days "will be remembered as a bright legacy in the lives of all of us as well as part of Olympic history".
"The Olympic Games gave athletes from South Korea and North Korea an opportunity to become friends who lit each other's birthday candles," he said.
"On the cold snow and ice, we have felt a warm glow in our hearts. All the athletes and spectators gathering together and sharing warmth of the moments will be remembered fondly by everyone around the world.
"And I would like to express my deepest gratitude to everyone who has made the Olympic Winter Games here at PyeongChang a platform for and a celebration of peace."
Next up: Beijing 2022.
Andy Jung and Deanna Lockett have missed out on advancing to the quarterfinals in their respective 500m and 1000m events after two very courageous heats on Day 11.
Jung said he would give it everything in the men’s 500m, and he certainly lived up to that promise.
The 19-year-old came out flying, and looked comfortable in the top three.
But as he rounded a corner he lost control, slipping off his edge and crashing in to the barrier.
“My blade collided with another guy and I couldn’t stay up,” he said. “I was feeling strong and I really went for it.
“I’m really disappointed but I know I couldn’t have given it much more.”
Dual Olympian Lockett settled at the back of the pack in her 1000m heat before pouncing from the outside, taking the lead with five laps to go.
But as the pack tightened she slipped back to third place, and wasn’t able to find space to move ahead.
“I’m disappointed but that’s the sport,” Lockett said. “Sometimes it’s your night and sometimes it’s not. Today it definitely wasn’t my night but I gave it my best.
“That was a really tough heat, to have the Chinese and the Koreans in my first race was hard, but that’s the way it goes.”
Her night got worse, when the judges gave her a penalty for impeding.
“I couldn’t feel the Chinese skater coming up on the inside,” Lockett said. “I didn’t mean to block her.”
The Brisbane-born skater now trains in Korea, and said the support she’d received these Games was incredible.
“I could see all the Aussie fans in the crowd and I feel so lucky to have shared this experience with all of them,” she said.
“Because I live and train in Korea it’s been extra special and overall I’m so happy with my second Olympic campaign.
“Now I just want to work extra hard and really see if I can improve.
“Hopefully I’ll be back in four year’s time.”
For Olympic debutant Jung, he said he will walk away from the Games feeling “proud” and with a tougher mindset.
“I’ve learnt how to perform on the big stage and I won’t feel so nervous at other competitions,” he said.
“It was amazing to meet so many different people and have the whole experience, I definitely want to come back next time.”
Jung will stay in Korea after the Closing Ceremony, to continue his preparations for the World Championships next month.
“I want to go and work on my technique a bit more and see if I can get a PB at Worlds,” he said.
“This whole experience has been amazing and I’m proud to be a Winter Olympian.”
Weighing in at just 52kg Deanna Lockett may look petite, but she’s proved she’s a true pocket rocket.
Lockett made it through to the semi finals of the women’s 1500m race after a blistering heat in which she proved she can mix it with the best.
In her first event of the Games, Lockett looked comfortable on the ice, skating aggressively in a tough field, and finishing her heat in 2nd place.
In the semi final she settled at the back of the pack, before making a move on the outside of the field.
“I was really happy with how I started in the semi final but then I got a bit trapped,” Lockett said.
“There was so much passing and pushing it all became a bit of a blur.”
With just a few laps to go in the 13-lap race, Lockett looked to be sitting easily in the top four, but some jostling for positions cost the Aussie skater, who tripped, and ended sixth.
“I would have liked to go further but that’s just the sport,” she said. “Sometimes it’s your day and sometimes it’s not.
“At Sochi I really mucked up my first race so I’m glad I at least got through my heat and feel like I had a good go. I really gave that everything.”
Four years ago Lockett was the youngest member of the Australian team, and she admits she’s come a long way since then.
“I was so young then and I was a bit overwhelmed by it all.”
“I made sure to arrive earlier at the Village this time so I could get settled and used to it all.
“I’m much more powerful now and I can keep up with most of the women so that feels good.”
And it’s not all over for the former Brisbane skater, who took up the sport at age 9, to escape the Brisbane heat.
She will compete in the 1000m event on Day 11 (February 20).
“It felt great having all the support in the stands, when I looked up I could see the Australian flags everywhere.
“Hopefully I made everyone proud and I can do even better next time.”
Olympic debutant Andy Jung left nothing in the tank, with a courageous showing in the men’s 1500m short track speed skating tonight.
The 20-year-old made it through to the semi-finals after a dramatic heat, in which the judges deemed he was disadvantaged by a collision between other skaters and advanced him to the next round.
The Korean born skater had previously said he was worried about this event, saying the longer races didn’t suit him as much as the sprints, because there was “so much strategy involved.”
But there was no sign of those worries as Jung took to the ice in the first semi-final, staying in close touch with the main pack through the entire 13 laps.
But in a tight race that ended with a photo finish, Jung wasn’t able to find space to make a move, getting trapped towards the back of the pack.
He finished fifth, a mere 0.018 seconds off qualifying for the B Final. There was 0.059 seconds separating second place and fifth place.
“It was fun, a bit nerve-wracking,” Jung said after getting off the ice at the Gangneung Ice Arena.
“I would have loved to keep going but that was a good experience and now I can’t wait for the 500m.
“I was a bit nervous because I wasn’t sure if the Korean supporters would hate me since I changed countries, but the crowd was good. I could hear all the cheering, it was really great.
“And I loved having the Aussies in the crowd, I could see the flag and hear them support me – it really helped, it was great.”
Jung will have 10 days to rest up before he next lines up for the men’s 500m qualifications on Day 11 (February 20).
PYEONGCHANG 2018: Australian sporting royalty Steven Bradbury made history in 2002 when he won Australia's first gold medal at a Winter Olympic Games.
Only days out from the Opening Ceremony for the PyeongChang 2018 Games, Bradbury shares his memories on his Olympic medals, his favourite Winter Olympic moments and what he is looking forward to at PyeongChang.
What are your memories of winning bronze in Lillehammer and gold in Salt Lake?
Bronze at Lillehammer was a significant moment in Australian sporting history – our first Winter medal. For Kieran Hansen, Andrew Murtha, Richard Nizielski, John Kah and myself it was a long time coming. As favourites at the previous Winter Games in Albertville, we crashed out and winning bronze in Lillehammer enabled us to put that lost opportunity behind us and made the moment a little sweeter. Back in Australia we were the talk of the town and it helped put winter sport on the map in our sun drenched nation. Memories of those times and teammates I will never forget.
The gold in Salt Lake is a hard one to forget. I’d have preferred to win that race eight years earlier in Lillehammer when I was arguably the best 1000m skater in the world. Unfortunately I got knocked over. Having three skaters fall in the semi final and four fall in the final made it a little difficult to accept the medal at first. I decided to accept it not for the 90 seconds of the race but for the four Olympics, a skate through my leg, a broken neck and five hours a day, six days a week of training for 14 years.
Outside of your own, what has been your favourite Winter Olympic moment by an Australian athlete over the years?
Lydia Lassila at the 2014 Sochi Olympics winning bronze. I was lucky enough to be there with a handful of other Aussies and when it came up on the board that she was going to try to land the FULL – DOUBLE FULL – FULL (quad twisting triple somersault) we all gasped a little as no woman had ever attempted it before. Lyd came so close to sticking it and even though she over rotated a little she still got the bronze. So much guts, little Lyd is a bloody inspiration. Hope she gets another gold in PyeongChang. If you’ve not seen it google – The Will to Fly. It's the best sports doco ever made!
What are you most looking forward to (an event or athlete) for PyeongChang 2018?
I’d love to see Alex Pullin get that elusive medal in the Snowboard Cross, Britt Cox is the favourite in the Moguls and can Scotty James beat Shaun White in the snowboard halfpipe, I bloody hope so! I'm biased though and can’t go past my sport of short track. Aussie Deanna Lockett in the 1500m and the 1000m I’m busting to see her show the world her best skating when it counts. She has worked incredibly hard for so many years, cheer for her Australia!
Short Track speed skaters Deanna Lockett and Andy Jung have been named on the Australian Winter Olympic Team for PyeongChang 2018.
Sochi Olympian Lockett secured the female quota for Australia after she finished the 2017/18 World Cup season ranked seventh in the 1500m and 19th in the 1000m, with the top 32 female skaters qualifying for the Games.
The 22-year-old will be joined by Olympic debutant Jung who secured his spot on the 2018 Team after a clean sweep of the Olympic selection trials in Melbourne late last week. 20-year-old Jung qualified a male Olympic quota place for Australia in the 500m and 1500m distances during the World Cup season, but had to face off against three of his Aussie teammates to claim the spot for himself.
“I feel so honoured to be selected on the Australian Team for the Games,” Jung said. “It’s a big relief.”
Korean born Jung moved to Australia in 2009 and took up speed skating in Melbourne in 2012. He moved back to his home nation, after he narrowly lost the male spot for Sochi to his good friend Pierre Boda, to train with a local Korean team in Seoul. The change of training base and new skating program has paid off.
“I’ve been training for five years now, and I missed the Sochi Games by a pinch,” he said. “Now making it to the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics, it’s everything I’ve been working for, everything that I had was put in and it feels unreal.”
An excited Lockett said today’s welcomed announcement was an accumulation of years of hard work and dedication.
“I have been working towards this for the past four years since Sochi so it’s very exciting to be part of the Winter Olympic Team again,” Lockett said.
“There is such a big build up so when the Games are finally approaching it’s nice to get in the Olympic spirit.”
As Australia’s fastest female in a relatively small winter sport, Lockett is ready to take Short Track to the big stage for her second Games.
“I think I’m most excited to have the whole of Australia’s attention,” the Queenslander said.
“Short track isn’t on the TV normally so I think it would be great to get Australia more into Short Track and Winter sport.
“I was very nervous for my first event in Sochi, so I have worked on that a bit and grown from my past experience and I will be better this time.”
Australia’s Chef de Mission, Ian Chesterman, congratulated the pair on their Team selection.
“It’s fantastic that both Deanna and Andy have made the Australian Olympic Team for PyeongChang,” he said.
“What they’ve done in the lead up to the season has allowed them to become the two best athletes for the spots, so it’s great that they’ve now got their chance to go to PyeongChang.
“Deanna has been there before and with Andy going for his first time it will no doubt be a great experience for him.”
Chesterman said he is very happy with how the Australian team is starting to shape up.
“We’ve got our figure skaters and now our short track team and though we’ve got a little while to wait for the rest of the athletes to gain qualification, it’s starting to build out to a really strong Team for PyeongChang.”
President of Australian Ice Racing Incorporated, Frank Anderson, said it was exciting for the whole Short Track community to select the pair.
“Deanna and Andy are world class,” Anderson said. “Deanna is definitely a podium skater and Andy showed during the World Cup season that he can mix it with the best, making it to the semi-finals in the 500m.
“It’s very exciting times and we’re looking forward to February and watching the team race.”
The addition of Lockett and Jung takes next year’s Australian Winter Olympic Team to six athletes so far, with the majority of the team to be selected in late January.
Australia’s fastest short trackers are off and racing towards the single male spot on the Australian Olympic Team for PyeongChang 2018.
The first day of the Olympic selection trials in Melbourne saw Andy Jung come out on top in both the 500m and 1500m events.
Australia has secured one male quota in short track speed skating for PyeongChang 2018 in the two distances, and four of the nation’s speedsters are battling it out for the elusive spot.
20-year-old Jung, who secured Australia’s quota place for the Games during the World Cup season, won the 1500m by a solid margin over teammate and Sochi Olympian Pierre Boda, but only just pipped Boda on the line in the 500m event.
Keanu Blunden came in third for both events, with Liam O’Brien in fourth.
At the end of the first day, Jung is leading the Olympic selection trial on a total of 68 points ahead of Boda on 42, Blunden on 26 and O’Brien on 16.
The pressure was on for Australia’s short track team this weekend as they competed at the final World Cup in Seoul, just 126 kilometres west of PyeongChang.
Though the final quota places won’t be released until early December, it would appear that Deanna Lockett has successfully qualified a female position in the 1500m and 1000m for the Winter Games, while Andy Jung is set to secure Australia a position in the men’s 500m.
“This was the last qualifying event and a chance to try [and] move up in ranking,” coach Lachlan Hay said.
“Unfortunately, we won’t know just yet what the final list will look like but we should look like we will have a male and female qualified for the Games in February.”
Lockett, who made her Olympic debut at Sochi in 2014, said that she was “relieved” to have “qualified safely and strongly” following the conclusion of the World Cup and looks forward to focussing on preparing for the 2018 Games.
The 22-year-old narrowly missed out on progressing to the finals for the 1500m and 1000m in Seoul, placing fifth in the semi-finals for both races to secure her 9th place overall in the 1000m, and 14th in the 1500m.
“Competing in all the distances and racing all four days of the competition is very mentally and physically tiring, I am happy to give myself a short rest,” she said.
“Mostly I am happy with the results, I got my first podium finish and I have been trying different things with my new strengths this season. I’m learning what is best for me.
“I don’t think I raced to my full potential this World Cup due to some racing mistakes, but I have learnt and I’ll be better and stronger.”
President of Australian Ice Racing, Frank Anderson, said that Lockett’s bronze medal in Budapest was “an obvious highlight” of the Short Track World Cup season.
“Deanna has had a strong and solid World Cup campaign and has worked hard to try and grab a berth in all three distances, but she can be happy and proud to have secured start positions for Australia in the 1000m and 1500m,” Anderson said.
“There are still formalities to go through, but Deanna is in a class of her own when it comes to Australian women in our sport and we can’t see anyone else taking these positions for PyeongChang.”
Coach Lachlan Hay said that Seoul was a “good mental challenge” for Lockett who performed well even though she hadn’t been in her “peak form”.
“Despite not feeling 100 percent this week, Deanna performed really well and still managed consistent results,” he said.
As for the Aussie men, Hay said they were “a lot more focused this week”, skating a lot better than they had previously, but unfortunately weren’t lucky enough to progress past the heats.
“The pressure was on to try and move up in the 1500m and 500m,” he said.
“At this stage it’s hard to say where we will finish but we had some good races and got through some tough heats.
“[It] would have been perfect to make some semi-finals but unfortunately [we] couldn’t get there this week.”
Andy Jung, who is currently ranked 20th in the men’s 500m, looks set to secure a quota for Australia at PyeongChang with 32 spots up for grabs.
“With the men, Andy Jung has qualified Australia a position in the 500m, and it would appear we will also be in a position to obtain a quota position in the 1500m. This will mean one male will get to skate two distances in PyeongChang,” Anderson said.
“This is a great result for our team, especially with four men having qualified for the right to trial for these positions on the 6th and 7th of December in Melbourne, highlighting how we have grown our depth of talent over the last few years.”
Australian Ice Racing will hold Olympic selection trials at the O’Brien Group Arena in Melbourne on December 6 and 7 to determine which athletes will represent Australia at PyeongChang 2018.
Heading into their final World Cup in Seoul this week, Australia’s short track team are so close to PyeongChang they can almost taste it – but there’s still some work to be done ahead of the crucial Olympic qualifier.
Following mixed results in Shanghai last week, our men have just one thing on their mind and that’s the 500 metre event that’s still up for grabs.
Head Coach Lachlan Hay said that he hopes a change in conditions will lend a helping hand to the team, particularly for the men who showed signs of good racing last week but “looked a little tired”.
“[The team] is looking a lot more ready and focussed this week. Training has gone well,” he said.
“The focus has shifted and I think they are a little more mentally prepared for this comp.”
Sochi 2014 Olympian Deanna Lockett – who is currently ranked seventh in the world in the 1500 metre event – is on the cusp of qualifying in three distances for PyeongChang.
While the 22-year-old was on the receiving end of a penalty in the 1000 metre semi-final in Shanghai and unable to make it to the finals, she nevertheless remains positive.
“I feel I have learnt from it and I will take all the experience I can so I’m ready as I can be for the games,” she said.
Hay said that Lockett “always hopes for more results” but that ahead of the Seoul World Cup “she is looking relaxed and excited to work on a few things this week during comp.
“Her racing has continued to improve, and her confidence is always growing, which is something we’ve been working on,” he said.
As for the Aussie men, the best result in Shanghai came from Keanu Blunden who placed 32nd in the 500m. Andy Jung was 38th and Pierre Boda 42nd in a 71-strong field.
Olympic qualification is the top 32 in the 500 metre distance, making Blunden’s result all the more vital. Following Seoul, the best results from three of the four World Cups are tallied to determine the top 32.
“The ice is different here [in Seoul] but hopefully with the guys doing most of their training in Korea the conditions should work for them,” Hay said.
Up-and-coming young guns Liam O’Brien and Keanu Blunden have been given guidance throughout the season from fellow teammates and Sochi Olympians Lockett and Pierre Boda.
“The likes of Liam and Keanu are doing well, they aren’t letting the importance of the comps shake them,” Hay said.
“[They’re] getting great experience that will build them as skaters moving forward from these qualifiers.”
The fourth and final Olympic qualifying Short Track World Cup will be contested in Seoul, Korea from 16 to 19 November. Follow the live results at the event website HERE.
With three of the four Short Track World Cups completed, Australia’s short track team are on the cusp of three distances for the women and one 500m metre spot for the men at the conclusion of the Audi Shanghai World Cup this weekend.
Aussie short track supremo Deanna Lockett would have been wanting to add another World Cup medal at Shanghai’s Crown Indoor Stadium this weekend and whilst that wasn’t to be, she looks to have solidified her claim on two Olympic qualifications for the 1500m and 1000m, with only the 500 metre berth still in balance.
Lockett’s favoured 1500m again was her standout result finishing tenth in the final standings after making the B Final and picking up fourth in a rocky race, which saw her being wiped out with half a lap to go.
A penalty to the British racer resulted in an adjusted fourth place to Lockett and she picked up another World Cup top ten. Despite the knock out in the final lap, the Queenslander is currently ranked seventh in the world over the 1500m.
Penalties were the name of the game for the Australian who was on the receiving end in the 1000m semi-final and unable to make it the final, yet had done enough to secure that distance next February.
"I’m a bit disappointed with this weekends results, but I feel I have learnt from it and will take all the experience I can can so I’m as ready as I can be for the Games," Lockett said.
Her least favoured 500m metres, which Lockett has said she would use to knock out the nervy cobwebs at next year’s Winter Olympics fared better than in previous years with qualification through the preliminaries and into the heats, giving her a current ranking of 35th in that distance.
“Deanna had a good third World Cup by getting to the semi-finals for her 1000m and also to the B final for the 1500m,” said Australian short track coach Lachlan Hay.
“She will be looking to relax a little more next week now after locking in a spot in each distance for the Olympics.” Her racing has continued to improve, and her confidence is always growing, which is something we’ve been working on.”
The Shanghai World Cup was a mixed result for the men with the best result coming from Keanu Blunden who placed 32nd in the 500m. Andy Jung was 38th and Pierre Boda 42nd in a 71-strong field.
Olympic qualification is the top 36 in 1500m and top 32 in 1000m and 500m, making Blunden’s result in the 500m all the more vital. The best results from three of the four World Cups are tallied to determine the top 36 and 32 respectively.
In the Shanghai 1000m, Pierre Boda was the best placed Australian in 42nd, with Andy Jung 50th with Alex Bryant incurring a DQ. The 1500m looked promising for Jung until he was penalised in the heats and had to settle for 42nd. Blunden finished 54th and Boda 57th.
“On the men’s side it was a little disappointing with no one qualifying through to the main competition or past heats,” coach Hay said.
“The men looked a little tired this competition but still showed signs of good racing and hopefully a change in conditions next week will suit them.”
“Keanu Blunden showed improvement from the first two world cups and raced well was just a little out skated in the last few laps. Andy and Pierre showed good speed but just not the usual strength in the closing stages.”
“Alex was unfortunately disqualified in his race and the relay the team was out skated by a strong field.”
The fourth and final Olympic qualifying Short Track World Cup will be contested in Seoul, Korea from 16 to 19 November.
The refreshed Australian Short Track Team are fighting fit and ready to take on the world’s best in battle for an elusive Olympic qualification spot in Shanghai this week.
A month after their last World Cup, the Australian team is more mentally ready to hit the ice at top speed at the third World Cup in China.
“Everyone is feeling more prepared moving into the final two World Cups of the qualifying season and ready to give another big push forward to secure spots for the Games,” Australia Short Track coach Lachlan Hay said ahead of Thursday’s first events.
“Team morale is great, everyone is working hard and feeling confident.
With a bronze medal-winning 1500m performance already on the board this season for Sochi Olympian Deanna Lockett, the 21-year-old will be looking to push extra hard in the 500m and 1000m distances to qualify in more events for the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang next year.
“Deanna will still focus on keeping this high ranking [in the 1500m] but will also put a big focus on the other distances to improve again and qualify in more than one distance. The plan will still stay the same,” Hay said.
Lockett’s fellow Aussie teammate Andy Jung is also on the hunt for a podium finish to inch him closer to an Olympic debut in South Korea.
At the Dordrecht World Cup in October, 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.
Although the penalty was ill-fated, Hay said Jung’s strong form and consist speed has him in good stead for this week’s World Cup.
“Penalties are things we deal with all the time in our sport and the athletes have become very mature about moving forward and not letting it affect them.
“We learn from these and know what the referee will look for in these situations.”
Australia’s Short Track World Cup team has a balance of experience and youth. Sochi Olympians Lockett and Pierre Boda provide guidance to the young up-and-coming members of the team, including 18-year-olds Liam O’Brien and Keanu Blunden.
Learning from their more experienced teammates and gaining exposure to the World Cup stage has had a major impact on the youngsters, Hay said.
“Keanu and Liam look like they have come to these final two World Cups in better form than the start. It’s a big stage for the young skaters but they are getting used to it and the racing and I think will perform a lot better this time around.”
The Shanghai ISU Short Track World Cup runs 9-12 November. Follow the live results at the event website HERE.
Learn more about Olympic Short Track and its proud Australian history HERE.
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.
Deanna Lockett and Andy Jung have shown they mean business on the opening day of racing at the Short Track Speed Skating World Cup 2 in Dordrecht overnight.
Off the back of her first World Cup medal in Budapest last weekend, Lockett cruised through her 1500m race to take out her heat and easily qualify for the semi-finals.
“Deanna is in great form,” Australian Short Track coach Lachlan Hay said.
“After having the great success with a medal [in Budapest] and overcoming a bit of training interruption leading into the week, I think the second World Cup will be strong.”
President of Ice Racing Australia, Frank Anderson, is in the Netherlands with the team and said the 21-year-old is skating well.
“Deanna absolutely owned the entire field in her 1500m and is truly a gold medal prospect for Saturday,” Anderson said.
The Sochi 2014 Olympian didn’t make it through the 500m preliminary rounds, but she will contest the 1000m preliminaries and heats tonight with the 1500m semi-final on Saturday evening AEDT.
In the men’s short track events, Jung punched through the 500m preliminaries before coming up against a world class field in the heats where he placed second and booked his spot in Saturday's quarter-finals.
“Andy’s 500m heat today was an A-final in a World Cup in any other year,” Anderson said.
"He has certainly shown a different approach to this World Cup season with intelligent racing strategies and clearly a stronger technical base with which he has placed himself on par with the world’s best.
"It is clear that Andy is here to fight not only for the best possible result for Australia, but to be noted as one of the best in the world in the lead up to PyenongChang.” he said.
Jung didn’t compete in the 1500m but will line up in the 1000m tonight with his teammates Pierre Boda and Alex Bryant
Last night Boda advanced through both the 500m and 1500m preliminary’s but was unlucky to not secure a quarter-final birth after the heats.
Keanu Blunden advanced through to the 1500m heats, and Liam O’Brien made a good start on his World Cup season, placing fourth in his 1500m preliminary round in 2.18.51, taking nearly five seconds off his best time.
Hay said the men’s team has now shaken off their nerves and he looks forward to seeing some strong performances.
“The guys have had the first World Cup now which is sometimes a bit nerve racking as they’re getting used to racing again,” he said.
“Now in the second World Cup we should see a more relaxed group and good results.”
The Dordrecht World Cup continues tonight with the women’s 1000m preliminary’s kicking off at 11am local time (8pm AEDT), followed by the men’s 1000m events.
Watch the finals livestream here
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 nations 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 admitted to being ‘antsy’ in the opening heats, which she comfortably made through before a different racer came to the starting line for the semi.
Sitting 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.”
“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.”
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
Australia has sent a large short track team to Budapest for this weekend’s first World Cup of the season, but don’t expect all racers to make the starting line in the men’s events.
The International Skating Union (ISU) announced four World Cup events from September to December to determine qualification for quota places into the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
The Special Olympic Qualification Classifications (SOQC) will be based upon the best three of four results over the respective distance at the four World Cups with each nation limited to a maximum of three individual entrants per event at the PyeongChang Olympics.
For an emerging Australian men’s team, that could mean only racing the best in-form three athletes to maximise the chances of qualifying individual men’s quota places.
Heading up the six-strong men’s team is the improving Andy Jung, who comfortably won every distance at the Australian trials back in July with 2014 Sochi Olympian Pierre Boda hot on his heels, Keanu Blunden, Liam O’Brien, Alex Bryant and Josh Kah.
Australia will also compete in the men’s relay and is in a position to select the best four in-form racers, which will provide further experience for the younger team members.
Our strongest-ever female short track speed skating racer Deanna Lockett is lining up for three events in the 500m, 1000m and 1500m.
The 500m is not a favoured distance for the determined 21-year-old.
“I am starting to try for the 500 this year because I want to qualify for all three distances so we will give that a go,” Lockett said.
Racing begins on Thursday 28 September from 5pm (AEST) with the men’s and women 1500m Preliminaries and Heats followed by the 500m and continues until October 1st.
Live coverage of all the events is available on the ISU Skating Channel and the full schedule can be found here
After the Budapest World Cup, the short trackers head to the second qualifier at Dordrecht in the Netherlands on October 7-8 before a month-long competitive break ahead of the Shanghai World Cup in China on November 9-10.
The final World Cup will be held in Seoul November 18-19, after which the ISU will inform the National Olympic Committees of their allocated quota places.
Australia’s best-ever women’s short track speed skater Deanna Lockett is on a mission to excel at PyeongChang next February.
Quietly spoken and shy with people she doesn’t know, there’s a fierce competitor just below the peaches and cream complexion, which is what propelled her out of the Queensland sun and into an ice rink.
“I have very fair skin and dad didn’t want us doing indoor sport,” Lockett said. “I started swimming in an indoor pool but didn’t like jumping in the water. A cold ice rink is much better.”
Living away from her Brisbane home and family is “super hard” Lockett admits, but the training conditions in Seoul, Korea make it all worthwhile.
“We miss each other for sure. My younger sister Elyce and I are only sixteen months apart. When we get together it’s like we were never away from each other.”
“I think I am quiet but when you get to know me I’m pretty crazy. When I’m comfortable it’s a different Deanna,” she said.
The ‘different’ Deanna is a committed athlete who may well blaze a trail for Australian women in short track racing.
The 21-year-old has been very close to World Cup podiums and regularly figures in the top ten in a sport where anything can happen and does.
Lockett was the first of the Australians to relocate to South Korea after the Sochi Olympics for training with coach Jae-Su Chun with the express intention of reaching the top five at next February’s Olympic Winter Games. Andy Jung, Pierre Boda and Liam O’Brien followed Lockett and the gang of four have become a tight-knit team.
“We are Australian and our own unit but we train with the Korean team. I’m crazy around my team mates and I like hanging out with them.”
“I’m really serious about what I’m trying to achieve but I like having fun at the same time.”
“Of course, it feels very foreign. Asia is a whole different story. Just walking on the streets I’m stared at so much. Sometimes, when everyone stares at you it can be a bit hard.”
“Being here is purely for the training. One upside is that I get to have my own apartment but I much prefer Australia.”
Looking back at last season Lockett admits it was a rebuilding time after recovering from glandular fever in the 2015/16 season when she was 19-years-old.
“The Glandular fever two years ago threw me off the training I was on and I had to get back into it more last season and I did well. Not as well as I would have hoped. This last season I was making the B Final and I got into one of the A finals in the 1000 metres.”
Last year was about regaining her strength and attacking the races. A pivotal turning point came at the Asian Winter Games in February.
“By Asian Games something kind of clicked. Before that I was a little reserved I think, so I learned to be more aggressive. At World’s I was taken out after racing really well.”
“The 500 is the most simple because you just go your fastest. The 1000m is more tactical depending if they have fastest third places going through from the quarter finals, which is what happened last year and just changes the whole race.”
“Mostly it’s top two who qualify but lately they’ve been taking the fastest place getters. It was a trend that race organisers started last year.”
“The 1500m is the most tactical. Some have the ability to wait and then go, and there’s a lot more options in the 1500m. The pack can be more spread out and sometimes being able to sit can be easier to move up if you’re strong.”
“Now I’m physically very strong, especially in the weight room and I have a lot more power. I’m always physically up there with all the girls, I just need to get the racing into shape,” Lockett said.
Her favourite event is the 1500m and to make that work better in this Olympic season, Lockett is now more serious about her lesser-favoured 500 metres.
“I am starting to try for the 500 this year because I want to qualify for all three distances so we will give that a go.”
“It’s not my best event but it’s the first in the Olympic schedule. Last Olympics (Sochi) I was really nervous for the 1500 in my first event. This time I’m definitely going after the 500 to blow the nervy cobwebs out.”
Describing herself as “a standard athlete – pretty boring really”, Lockett trains six days a week on a schedule that is counted minute by minute.
A typical day is up at 5.50am, head to rink for 6.20 before warm-up and skate until 9am, followed by dry land training for up to a further two hours.
“We do recovery, have lunch and a nap, then it’s back on the rink at 4pm until 8pm – five days a week. Saturdays is morning training only,” she said.
On Sunday’s the Aussies hang out together but you would also find them most nights eating together as well.
“Because we finish training quite late at night, we go out to eat because food is very cheap. You can buy a good meal for $8 AUD. I quite like Korean food, just not too spicy.”
After the World Championships in March, Lockett headed back to Korea for training with Jae-su before attending a camp in Calgary with the Hungarian National team.
“Calgary was very good and I got really strong there. After Calgary, Jae-su and I went to Italy for three weeks. The goal there was increased altitude. Calgary is high and Cournaueire in Italy is even higher.”
The first of four ISU Short Track World Cups, which are also qualification events for the 2018 Olympics, will be held at the end of September in Budapest, Hungary.
“I will skate all three races for all four Cups. The races are over four days, not three.“
“The more you go through the rounds, the more tired you get, which makes recovery important. Four days of racing is pretty long and mentally tiring too. You can’t relax.”
“My goal is top five. Once you’re in the top five, anything can happen. Yeah… we’ll see. There’s nothing in the top five, the top ten really. It’s just a matter of how the racing goes and who is the smartest.”
After the Budapest World Cup, the short trackers head to the second qualifier at Dordrecht in the Netherlands on October 7-8 before a month-long competitive break ahead of the Shanghai World Cup in China on November 9-10.
The final World Cup will be held in Seoul on November 18-19, after which the ISU will inform the National Olympic Committees of their allocated quota places.
Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) Vice President Ian Chesterman has been appointed Chef de Mission for the Australian Olympic Team for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games
The appointment was made at a meeting of the AOC Executive last night with unanimous support.
Chesterman’s appointment continues the policy of the position being filled by a member of the AOC Executive.
“I would like to thank John Coates and the AOC Executive for entrusting me with this role,” Chesterman said.
“I know it’s a big job and I am excited to be involved. It's a very exciting time for Australian sport. Three Olympic Games in Asia – South Korea in 2018, Japan in 2020 and then China in 2022 – represents a huge opportunity for us.”
Chesterman is no stranger to the role of Chef de Mission and no stranger to working with the Japanese having lead his first Olympic Team in Nagano in 1998. In less than 170 days’ time, he will lead his sixth Australian Olympic Winter Team to PyeongChang, South Korea.
“Tokyo will put on an exceptional Games. My first Games as Chef de Mission in Nagano in 1998 were brilliant. Japan did a wonderful job then and I'm sure will do so again,” he said.
In his role in winter sports in Australia, Chesterman has helped oversee steady improvement across a range of disciplines which has recently seen our athletes rewrite the record books.
“Ian has long played a key role in the successful preparation of our Olympic Winter Teams and we are excited to have him on board for the Tokyo 2020 Games,” said AOC President John Coates.
“He has been a constant positive presence amongst Australian winter sports for over two decades, helping to oversee the growth and development of our winter athletes. We are confident he will be able to replicate the positive structures and leadership he has put in place for winter sports into the summer Chef de Mission position and in turn give our athletes the best opportunity to thrive.”
Chesterman also believes his vast experience with winter Olympic athletes will be transferrable to the Summer Team.
“The focus for me has always been, and will always be, on the athletes. It doesn't matter whether they are in a ski suit or a swim suit. Our challenge is how do we give every team member the best chance to produce their best performance on the day that matters most to them.
“It’s the same challenge we face for our winter team, and while the Tokyo team is obviously bigger with a more diverse range of sports, if we can achieve that goal Australia will have a very good Games.
“I've got great faith that we are growing outstanding young Australians and I'm in awe of the way this generation see their world. We will encourage that positive outlook and empower them to pursue their best.”
A long-time sports administrator always looking for an edge, Chesterman has maintained a keen interest in expanding his knowledge by keeping a close eye on how summer sports in Australia are run.
“As someone who has been involved in winter sports for a long time, I have watched and learned from summer sports across the years. I know there is so much talent in the summer sports, from athletes to coaches to administrators, and I am looking forward to working with them to together create the environment which allows their sports to flourish on the Olympic stage.
“That's the job for our leadership team and It's a challenge we will embrace.
“Our new CEO, Matt Carroll, is running an excellent team at the AOC, and we will put a leadership group together, with an eye to the future, who will be committed to supporting every sport and every athlete in Tokyo.” he said.
Chesterman acknowledged 2016 Rio Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller for her work in the leadup and during the Rio Games.
“I thank Kitty for all her work. Having pride in representing Australia on a world stage is in our DNA. Kitty Chiller and her team did a great job reinforcing that going into Rio and that legacy remains.
“In the meantime, we’ve got an excellent team together working towards success in PyeongChang in February next year.
“I'm sure the Olympic spirit is strong and Australians will back our athletes, first in PyeongChang and then in Tokyo” he said.
Short Track speed skater Andy Jung became serious about his sport just five years ago before the Sochi trials, narrowly missing out on an Olympic berth.
There were no doubts in the minds of short track experts that the then teenage Jung had the natural ability to excel, but did he have the mind and work ethic to follow suit?
Olympic Champion Steven Bradbury thinks he does now.
“His progression since the Sochi trials was always going to be a difficult road because he had to get fit and strong and learn how to race,” Steven Bradbury said.
“He’s got that aerobic base in his system now and his body can cope with the intensity. That was always going to take hard yards. Hopefully he’s got all that now and learned the race tactics.”
“Some of those boxes have been ticked. We will find out in the coming season and he may come into a place where he finds that improvement,” Bradbury said.
After relocating from his family home in Melbourne to train full-time in Korea thirteen months ago, the now 20-year-old Jung travelled to Sydney last week and made an effortless, clean sweep of the World Cup Trials over three distances.
“It was good to have everyone back in Australia together. The trials were the first races of the Olympic season for me and they felt a little uncomfortable but it ended well and I feel mentally stronger,” Jung said.
“Racing is a rest from training – and there’s been a lot of training.”
With coach Jae-su Chun and OWIA team mates Deanna Lockett and Pierre Boda, living away from home has brought a level of maturity to a young man who is seemingly on a mission.
“The last thirteen months have been good. This year is the strongest I’ve ever been. My technique is getting better but there’s still things to fix and work to do.”
“My coach is so good. He’s experienced and has been in the sport for so long.”
Asked if he trusted coach Jae-su, Jung didn’t miss a beat, answering, “fully”.
Preparing equipment is an essential component for success. The technology extends to individually moulded boots and ‘cut proof’ aerodynamic racing suits.
“it’s very personal. Every single person has a different blade setting, a different radius and bend in the blade. My coach does all that and makes sure it’s right.”
Bradbury has been impressed with Jung’s ability and willingness to work.
“Watching him do box jumps in the gym is something,” Bradbury says. “He is naturally gifted with springs in his legs.”
“If he improves as much this season as what he did last season, I can see him in the top 15.”
Anything can happen in short track as Bradbury well knows. The proviso he explained is that a short tracker must be race hardened.
“Andy has turned himself around since Sochi into a seasoned, hardened short tracker, which doesn’t happen in a couple of years. It takes a lot of years.”
“The depth in short track now across the world now is just ridiculous. You can be in a heat that looks like a final in the first round,” Bradbury commented.
“In saying that Andy has the natural speed. He’s got the grounding now from five years of hard yards.”
“Medals (in PyeongChang) would be a surprise outside the chance for Deanna (Lockett), but the future for Australia in short track is certainly looking better.”
“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a group of talented young skaters all starting to push up on the top guys in the national team. That was what created the era I was part of in the 1990s when there was a lot of elite and semi elite skaters.”
Following the trials last week in Sydney, Jung headed home to Melbourne for a week to spend time with his family, meet up with old friends and have a rest.
“I miss Australia. It’s the only place I feel like I’m home as soon as I arrive at the airport. This was a good time to come back after thirteen months. I haven’t been back – not even once.”
His growing self-belief and confidence is matched by a relaxed, quiet determination. His intent and passion are visible, as evidenced by the mystery tattoos on the fingers of his left hand ‘T’, ‘L’, ‘D’ and ‘E’.
“Not even my mum knows what they stand for. It’s a mystery. When I win, I will tell people,” he said grinning.
The first short track World Cup and Olympic qualifier will be held in Budapest, Hungary on September 30 and October 1st and Jung is after results.
A series of four World Cups will serve as Olympic qualifiers. For more information on the ISU Short Track Olympic qualification World Cup series click here.
By Belinda Noonan OWIA
SYDNEY: After intense racing in the 500m, 1000m and 1500m at Canterbury Olympic Ice Rink over the past two days, Short Track World Cup Team has been announced.
Andy Jung (20), Pierre Boda (24), Keanu Blunden (18), Liam O’Brien (18), Alex Bryant (20) and Josh Kah (17) were announced by Australian Ice Racing Incorporated (AIR) as the ‘strongest team in many years’.
The athletes were vying for a place for four ISU World Cups, which are the special qualifying competitions to determine the number of Olympic Quota spots at the PyeongChang Olympics next February.
For the first time in a decade, Australian Ice Racing Incorporated (AIR) had more qualified men than World Cup spots available requiring time trials to select the top six Short Track racers.
The young team aim to build Australia’s proud short track heritage, which AIR President Frank Anderson says signals a bright future.
“Six years ago, we were at our lowest ebb for membership and skaters. That has now doubled,” Mr Anderson says.
“We implemented a variety of things including changing the culture within the sport a little, worked to build the junior numbers and brought back our ‘masters’ to help guide the sport and younger members.”
“For High Performance, we rewrote the selection policy with more emphasis on excellence. The aim was to build a group of skaters to vie for spots – making them earn a spot, instead of just filling a spot.”
“We made it harder to make the national team,” he explained.
As an indication of how that strategy has worked, the National Junior Team broke the Australian International Senior Men’s 3000m record at this year’s World Junior Championships.
For now though, all thoughts turn toward the four ISU World Cups, which kick off in Budapest, Hungary at the end of September.
Andy Jung made a clean sweep in the Trials over all three distances and is clearly in form, despite saying that he felt, “a little bit uncomfortable because it’s the first comp of the Olympic season but it ended well.”
“I feel mentally stronger,” Jung said.
Pierre Boda came in a solid overall second, having battled cold symptoms the previous week, Keanu Blunden third and Liam O’Brien fourth.
Fifth place Alex Bryant admitted he wasn’t skating “that great yet” as his focus has been on technique in the pre-season with the plan being to progressively get faster.
Sixth place and a new-comer to the World Cup circuit will be 17-year-old Josh Kah – son of three-time speed skating (long track) Winter Olympian Danny Kah (1988, ’92 and 94) and nephew of John Kah (1992 short track Olympian and member of Australia’s World Champion 5000m relay team).
Josh is expected to compete in the first two World Cups and miss the final two because of his final high school exams.
AIR President Frank Anderson has his fingers crossed for a possible return to the big time in the relay event.
“We’ve set a High Performance standard, have a good partnership with the Olympic Winter Institute Australia and the strongest men’s team in many years. I do have my fingers crossed for a relay team,” Anderson says. “The future is definitely bright.”
The women's team will be formally announced on July 31 but will be led by Deanna Lockett, who is in a class of her own, and who was not required to skate in time trials.
“Deanna (Lockett) is world class. Living in Korea full time - she does miss home but she’s absolutely focused with one goal in mind – PyeongChang.”
Anderson says a win is possible for Lockett.
“At the World Cup in Dresden Deanna was fourth in the 1500m and it was very exciting to watch. Equally exciting were the World Championships where she qualified first in the 1500m heats.”
The tactical challenge for Australian Ice Racing will be deciding who competes in which races at the World Cups, particularly with a young, but eager and motivated team.
“Each man can only skate in two of the three distances (500m, 1000m and 1500m) at each World Cup. The focus will be on the maximum possible Olympic quota places.”
In announcing the Men’s World Cup team after the trials at Canterbury Olympic Ice Rink this morning, Anderson encouraged the squad to work together.
“Do not be a team of individuals, be an individual team.”
By Belinda Noonan
The International Skating Union (ISU) has announced four Short Track World Cup events from September to December this year, which will determine qualification for quota places into the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
The Special Olympic Qualification Classifications (SOQC) will be based upon the best three results out of four results over the respective distance achieved at the designated four World Cups.
The first World Cup will be held in Budapest, Hungary on September 30 and October 1st with OWIA speed skaters Deanna Lockett in the women’s and Pierre Boda, Alex Bryant and Andy Jung competing in the men’s.
“Qualification for the Games require the top 32 for in the 500metres and 1000m plus the top 36 for 1500 over the four World Cups. We’re aiming higher to comfortably achieve Olympic qualification for PyeongChang,” said Nic Cicero, who has been a part of the Australian short track coaching team.
For PyeongChang, 55 quota places are available for men and the same again for women, with an additional five places offered to the host nation (Republic of Korea).
Each nation is limited to a maximum of three entrants per individual event.
Whilst Australia will compete in the Men’s relay, a quota place in the world top-eight teams is not expected.
“Australia will be aiming for a maximum of three entrants per individual event in the men. Deanna Lockett is aiming to qualify across all three distances and has based her training in Korea for the past few seasons,” Cicero explained.
After the Budapest World Cup, the short trackers head to the second qualifier at Dordrecht in the Netherlands on October 7-8 before a month-long competitive break ahead of the Shanghai World Cup in China on November 9-10.
The final World Cup will be held in Seoul November 18-19, after which the ISU will inform the National Olympic Committees of their allocated quota places.
Australia’s PyeongChang hopefuls, including Sochi Olympian Pierre Boda, will race in the World Cup Trials in Sydney on Wednesday 26 and Thursday 27 July at Canterbury Ice Rink.
“Everything is hurting,” Pierre Boda says about the gruelling training schedule he is working through over the past seven weeks.
The Sochi short track Olympian has moved full-time to Korea to prepare for the coming season.
“Basically, the last seven weeks I have been trying to rebuild physically and get back to where I was two years ago. It’s been very tough.”
In the 2015 season Boda posted top-20 performances on the World Cup circuit in his favoured distances of 500m, 1000m and 1500m, including a seventh place in the 1000m. He returned to the top ten last year at the Olympic Test event in Gangneug, South Korea and a top 20 at the same distance in Salt Lake City, USA.
Boda’s schedule this season requires training up to seven hours a day.
“We have ice, off ice, weights and power endurance. We need everything,” he said. “I’ve been trying to stuff as much as possible into each week and get the most out of it.”
Living away from home in an apartment that is a five-minute walk to the training rink an hour from the heart of Seoul is a small price to pay.
“We’re here for training and I will stay the entire season, apart from races, to qualify for the Olympics.”
How the tough training has measured up will be put to the test at the World Cup Trials in Sydney at the end of July when Boda races in the 500, 1000 and 1500 metres at Canterbury Ice Rink on July 26 and 27.
The first ISU Short Track World Cup will be held from September 28 to October 1 in Budapest, Hungary.
To view Pierre Boda’s full profile click here
SHORT TRACK ARCHIVE