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
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.”
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).
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.
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
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.
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
Deanna Lockett and Andy Jung have come away from the World Short Track Championships in Rotterdam ranked 12th in the 1500m and 500m respectively.
Lockett’s best result in the 1500m saw her qualify first out of the heats then second in her quarter-final. Unfortunately, she was relegated to the B Final after the semi-final and had to settle for 6th place and 12th overall.
In the 1000m Lockett ended up 16th overall and was 30th in the 500m, and combined with her 1500m achieved an overall world ranking of 18th.
PyeongChang is not far from Lockett’s mind and prior to the World Championships the Sochi Olympian said that the Asian Winter Games was helpful.
“The Asian Winter Games did give a little taste of the Olympic atmosphere and did remind me of the Olympic hype of what is yet to come for PyeongChang. I still have the job ahead of me to qualify next season so I don't like to think too far ahead. I want to enjoy the whole process.”
Andy Jung also recorded a top 12 world ranking with his best racing in the 500m where made it through the heats and into the quarter finals. Jung’s made it through the prelims for the 1500m and into the heats but wasn’t able to replicate that in the 1000m. His overall world ranking came in at 30th.
“It has been a good season with some good races and lessons I have learnt. I'm excited for the next season,” Jung said.
Sochi Olympian Pierre Boda did not have the World Championship he was hoping for, placing 35th in the 500m and 1500m plus 34th in the 1000m earning him an overall world ranking of 35th.
“This year has been tough with many changes,” Boda admitted. “I have managed to keep grounded and work hard.”
There were mixed results for Australia's short track speed skaters on day one of competition at the Sapporo 2017 Asian Winter Games.
The Aussies looked the goods early with Deanna Lockett comfortably advancing to the semi-finals in the women's 1,500m while Alex Bryant, Pierre Boda and Keanu Blunden also progressed to the semi-finals in the men’s event.
Boda and Bryant made it through to the men’s B Final where they finished fifth and sixth respectively, but Lockett and Blunden’s day ended with disqualification after each athlete experienced a racing incident in their semi-final.
“We were fighting to get in the final and it was the last lap so we were fighting hard and I got the penalty in the end,” Lockett said of the incident she had with a Chinese competitor.
Although she was disappointed to bow out early Lockett was able to take away a positive from the race.
“I’m not happy with what happened but I’m happy with how I raced. I was more aggressive than usual and that’s what I need to do in short track,” she said.
Meanwhile the Australian men’s 5,000 metre relay team ended the day on a positive note, placing second in their heat, progressing to the semi-finals. The Aussies crossed the line ahead of India and finished second to Korea.
The team was spearheaded by Sochi Olympian Pierre Boda who had to take a conservative approach to racing after a fall in practice on Sunday.
“I was just trying to stay out of trouble today and it kind of worked out in the end so I was happy,” Boda said.
“I was trying to get my feeling back on the ice and skate nicely and relaxed. I managed to get an ok result.”
The 23-year-old is planning to pick up the pace as the meet goes on.
“I’ve woken up a bit more and I’m firing a bit harder after today’s relay and hopefully the next round everything is on,” Boda said.
Short Track speed skaters will be back in action on Tuesday with the men’s and women’s 500 and men’s semi-final relay.
Full results and live streaming of the Asian Winter Games is available on the Sapporo 17 website.
Day one of the ISU Short Track Speed Skating World Cup has taken place today in the 2018 Olympic venue in Gangneung, Korea.
The highlight was both Pierre Boda and Deanna Lockett advancing through to the quarter final round in the 1000m, after placing second in their heats.
Deanna unfortunately came fifth in her 1500m heat, so will compete in the repechage rounds to avoid an early exit in the distance tomorrow.
A number of repecharge rounds will take place over the next two days, with Alex Bryant, Andy Jung, Simon Francis and Keanu Blunden in action for Australia.
The relay team was also in action featuring Pierre Boda, Andy Jung, Alex Bryant and Keanu Blunden. Unfortunately, the team finished fourth in their heat, unable to advance to the semi final stage with a final ranking of 14th.
Two more days of competition will take place with finals commencing tomorrow.
Interrupted training hasn’t kept short track speed skater Deanna Lockett from giving it her all this weekend in the third World Cup in Shanghai.
On Saturday, Deanna raced to second in her B final in the 1500m, giving her a 9th place overall.
“Coming off 2 weeks of sickness and limited training, I’m glad I could pull myself together for the competition,” she said. “I did a lot better than what I felt physically.”
The Men’s team worked their way through the repechage rounds, but were unable to make it out; although Pierre Boda, Keanu Blunden and Simon Francis progressed past the heats.
Alex Bryant was taken out on the first corner and was unlucky to not be called back for a restart, drawing a DQ for his event and therefore, not progressing.
The tough competition continued with the final races on Monday morning. Lockett made it through the heats in the 500m (2) but couldn't replicate her earlier finish, failing to make it out of the rep semifinals to finish in 25th place.
The highlight of the day was Andy Jung in the 500m (2) who made it to the quarterfinals and placed 14th overall. Keanu Blunden scraped to the rep quarterfinals with a 30th place finish in the 1000m, but it was a rough day for the remaining men who were unable to make it out of the heats in their races.
The Olympic Winter Institute of Australia (OWIA) Short Track Team has posted improved results at the second World Cup of the year in Salt Lake City, UT, USA, with a top ten to Deanna Lockett and personal best, 17th place, for Alex Bryant.
Lockett recorded a 15th place in the first 1500m event, and improved in the second 1500m event to reach the semi-final. After narrowly missing out on the A-Final, Lockett placed third in the B-Final giving her a final ranking of ninth.
In the men’s 1000m, Bryant and OWIA teammate Pierre Boda both achieved top-20 performances, with Bryant’s 17th placing a personal best finish, and an Australian National record for the distance. Boda also recorded a 29th place in the 1500m (2) event.
Other Australian performances included Andy Jung finishing 32nd in the 500m, with Simon Francis 35th in the 1500m and Luke Cullen 41st in the same distance.
At the end of the event Australia's two highest placed performed skaters commented on their performance.
Deanna Lockett - "I'm still working to match my strength with my racing skills. I feel like I'm taking small steps forward but I need to focus on my racing in the lead up to the next event."
Alex Bryant - "Overall I'm extremely happy with my performance over the weekend. I've been working really hard physically & mentally leading up to this World Cup to improve the way I race. I'm achieving my goals and can't wait to continue my improvement on the World Cup circuit!
The Australian skaters now have a break before the World Cup season resumes in Asia, with events in Shanghai, China, on December 9-11 and Gangneung, Korea, on December 16-18.
IMAGE: Alex Bryant in Salt Lake City
Deanna Lockett has made a positive start to the 2016/2017 World Cup season, with two finals performances in Calgary, Canada.
Lockett qualified for the final rounds in both the 1500m and 1000m distances, advancing through the heat stage in second place.
Her first semi-final came in the 1500m distance where she missed out by one place on qualifying for the A-final. Unfortunately, Lockett drew a penalty in the B-final, resulting in a finishing place of 12th.
In the 1000m quarterfinal, Lockett crossed the line in fifth position, giving her a final result of 18th place.
After the race, Lockett was happy to be back competing.
“It was a good first competition, I'm feeling really strong physically and came into this weekend to work on my skills and race strategies.“
“Overall it’s still a work in progress and we're building up for a strong season. There are some positives I'm taking out of the weekend.”
Andy Jung also advanced through to the quarter final stage of the 500m, finishing in 18th place. The result sees Jung match his previous best World Cup performance, which he also achieved in Canada, on the other side of the country in Montreal.
Jung was also satisfied with his start to the season.
“I felt strong in both my 500m and 1000m races. My highest placing came in the 500m, but I also skated really well in the 1000m. Unfortunately picked up a penalty on the line which otherwise would've sent me through to the next round.”
“There were a few areas that I could have skated better, so I’m really looking forward to World Cup two in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, next week to build on my performances from Calgary."
Other Olympic Winter Institute of Australia athlete performances included Pierre Boda placing 36th in both the 500m and 1000m, Alex Bryant finished in 42nd place in the 1500m and 46th in the second 500m.
Also competing in Calgary were Australian Ice Racing athletes Simon Francis and Luke Cullen. Francis finished in 43rd and 47th in the 500m distances with Cullen 40th in the 1500m.
The athletes now head to Salt Lake City, UT, USA, for the second World Cup event of the season.
IMAGE: Alex Bryant, Deanna Lockett, Pierre Boda and Andy Jung in Calgary.
Deanna Lockett has made a successful start to the World Cup season, advancing through to the semi final rounds in the 1000m and 1500m distances in Calgary, Canada.
Lockett’s Olympic Winter Institute teammate Andy Jung also advanced to the quarter final round in the 500m event number one.
The finals for the 500m (1) and 1500m take place tomorrow with the 1000m and 500m (2) taking place on Monday Australian time.
Other Australian athletes will take place in the repechage rounds tomorrow morning.
Best of luck to all skaters!
Olympic Winter Institute of Australia (OWIA)/Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS) athlete Deanna Lockett finished 15th in the 1500 metres at the Short Track World Championships which were held in Seoul, Korea over the past three days.
In a tight quarter final, Lockett fell just short of reaching the B-Final, eventually settling for 15th place overall.
Lockett was the best performed of the Australian contingent, which included fellow OWIA athletes Pierre Boda and Andy Jung.
In the Men’s 1500 metres, Jung finished in 36th position, with Boda 39th.
In the 1000 metres event, Lockett finished 25th, while in the Men’s Boda finished fourth in his heat, settling for 24th place overall, while Jung finished 28th.
The 500 metres saw Lockett place 25th, after crossing the line first in her ranking heat in a time of 45.506 seconds.
Andy Jung qualified for the heats after winning his opening preliminary heat.
Jung then crossed the line in third place in his heat, eventually finishing in 21st position, while Boda was in action in the ranking heats, after finishing fourth in his preliminary. Boda finished in 38th place overall.
At the conclusion of the World Championships, coach Anthony Barthell said there was plenty of experience gained.
“There were some ups and downs this weekend, but I feel that lessons were learned and experience gained, and the team is heading in the right direction,” Barthell said.
It was a terrific weekend for Canadian Marianne St-Gelais in the ladies section, after winning the 1500 metres, she backed that up with a second place in the 500 metres.
In the Men’s, 18 year-old Shaoang Liu of Hungary had a consistent weekend with a second placing in the 1500 metres and finishing third in the 500, while his brother Shaolin Sandor Liu was crowned World Champion in the 500 metres.
the right direction,” Barthell said.
IMAGE: Pierre Boda in action racing at the World Championships © Pierre Boda Instagram
OWIA/VIS athlete Deanna Lockett has continued her good recent form after almost twelve months out of racing due to illness.
Along with fellow OWIA athletes Andy Jung and Pierre Boda, Lockett competed in the inaugural ISU Shanghai Trophy this weekend.
On the opening day Lockett finished eighth in the 1500 metre event, after reaching the B-Final where she placed second.
Jung and Boda finished 15th and 21st respectively in the Men’s event.
Day two saw Lockett take to the track in the 500 metres, where she finished 11th, a distance that she previously had only ever competed in on a handful of occasions.
Lockett also competed in the Mixed Relay event, taking home a medal with her team finishing in third place.
Following the race, Lockett said her performance has given her confidence to continue working on this event as she already looks ahead to next season.
“I feel like I’m a lot better since I last competed in a 500 metre event, and I want to carry on my rhythm in the 500 for next season,” she said.
Jung also had a good run in the 500 metres finishing ninth after reaching the semi-finals, while Boda finished in 20th place.
The final day of competition saw the athletes compete in the 1000 metres, with Boda and Jung making it through to the quarter finals, eventually finishing 14th and 16th respectively.
Once again Lockett performed strongly, qualifying for the B-Final, where she finished third, meaning an overall placing of seventh.
Coach Anthony Barthell was pleased with the solid races all three athletes had over the three day event in Shanghai, as they all now look ahead to next week’s World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Seoul, Korea.
“Andy has had some solid races and is really gaining momentum for next week, and Deanna is skating well and should be ready to go next week,” Barthell said.
“Pierre is gaining a bit of confidence here while working on some technical aspects of his racing.”
IMAGE: Andy Jung in action © Schaats Skating Photos
Olympic Winter Institute of Australia (OWIA)/Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS) athlete Deanna Lockett reached the semi-finals of the Women’s 1500 metres World Cup race in Dordrecht, The Netherlands this weekend.
Australian Short Track Coach Anthony Barthell has been impressed with Lockett’s racing since returning from her enforced layoff due to illness.
“Deanna is doing really well with her comeback,” Barthell said. “Racing has changed this season and some new faces are reaching the podium; she’s doing really well asserting herself in that group of skaters.”
In the Men’s 500 metres, Andy Jung was the best performed athlete, finishing 19th overall, after being eliminated in the Repechage Semi-Final. Michael Pickup finished 44th, while Liam O’Brian was 46th; both not progressing from the rep heats.
Jung and Pickup were also in action in the first of the 1000 metre races, eventually finishing 28th and 31st respectively.
Pierre Boda did qualify for the quarter finals, where he finished fourth, meaning an overall placing of 16th.
In the second of the 1000 metres, Boda was once again the best performed of the Australian athletes finishing 26th, with Keanu Blunden 31st.
Our men’s 5000 metre relay team finished fourth in their heat in a time of seven minutes 18.231 seconds, missing out on a spot in the next round.
IMAGE: Training snap captured by ISA president Frank Anderson of the team preparing for the World Cup in Dordrecht, Netherlands.
Leading Australian Speed Skater, Olympic Winter Institute of Australia (OWIA)/Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS) athlete Deanna Lockett has made a successful return to competitive racing, at the World Cup Short Track Speed Skating event in Dresden, Germany.
Lockett has not competed at a World Cup event for twelve months due to illness, with her last race being, coincidently, at the same venue in Germany.
Lockett competed in both the 1500m events in Dresden, reaching the B-Final of both races, where she placed twelfth overall on both occasions; an excellent result following such a lengthy layoff.
Following her opening event, Lockett was pleased to be back competing as she looks forward to the remainder of the season.
“I am just getting back into it again,” Lockett said.
“These two competitions are more about getting the feeling for racing again, and being ready for the World Championships,” she added.
In the Men’s, valuable World Cup race experience was in order for newcomers Keanu Blunden, Michael Pickup and Liam O’Brian.
Andy Jung was the best performed OWIA athlete in the 500m, finishing 22nd overall after being eliminated in the Rep. semi-finals, with Blunden finishing 36th and O’Brian 41st.
Jung also raced in the 1000m but was unable to progress from the Rep. heats while Pierre Boda finished 32nd, bowing out in the Rep. quarter finals.
In the 1500m, there were two events across the weekend, with Pierre Boda the best placed in 33rd position in race two, with Keanu Blunden the next best in 35th in the first of the two events.
The Men’s 5000m relay team finished third in their heat behind Italy and Canada, therefore missing out on progressing to the next round.
Alex Bryant missed the event due to a fall on Tuesday.
“Unfortunately Alex took a fall on Tuesday and suffered a mild concussion, but he should be ready to go to the final World Cup event of the season in Dordrecht, The Netherlands next weekend,” coach Anthony Barthell said.
SHORT TRACK ARCHIVE