The opening round of the ISU Short Track World Cup got underway in Utah today, with five Australian skaters in action, led by Olympians Deanna Lockett and Pierre Boda.
The Olympic Winter Institute (OWIA) athletes are set for three busy days of competition that will featured a 500 metre race, two separate 1000 metre races and a 1500 metres, with preliminary rounds, repechages, heats and finals in a compact competition schedule.
The opening day was a day of qualifying, with no World Cup medals on offer.
Lockett, who finished with a ninth placing in the 1000 metres in Sochi in February, won her opening race over that distance, the preliminary round, in a confidence boosting performance.
In the next round, the heat, she finished second to Olympic bronze medallist and world champion, Korean Shim Suk Hee. The race will continue on Sunday, with the semi-final and, Lockett hopes, the final.
"I am skating much stronger this year, but am not used to having so many different options during a race’” Lockett said. “It was good to get the first races of the season out of the way, I am now looking forward to the races over the weekend."
Earlier in the opening round of the 1500 metres she missed a top two result, but will be hoping to progress her 1500 metre hopes through the repechage tomorrow after missing a direct passage to the final.
In the first of the men’s 1000 metre World Cups, both Boda and Andy Jung made it through the preliminary heats to second round.
Both skated well in the 500 metre preliminaries, with Boda finishing qualifying second to progress to the heats while finished third Jung and will look to the repechage.
In the second round of the 500 metres Boda finished fourth in his heat, so will now join Jung in the repechage on Sunday.
Australia was represented by Nathaniel Henry and Armstrong Lazenby in the 1500 metres. Both did notmake it through the opening round but will compete in the repechage round on Saturday Utah time.
The pair then raced the second of the 1000 metres, and in a tough competition, missed immediate passage and will be back hoping to progress through the repechage round tomorrow.