The World Junior Short Track Speed Skating Championships will be held from 29th to 31st January in Sofia, Bulgaria, with Australia to be represented by Andy Jung, Alex Bryant, Keanu Blunden and Denali Blunden.
These championships will be another great step in the careers of the two OWIA athletes and Keanu Blunden and really positive first time international exposure for Denali Blunden will be invaluable.
“Denali is one of our younger up and comers who will be making his international debut in the relay in Sofia,”said coach Anthony Barthell. “He has set some sub-junior records here in Australia, but is now looking to continue those ways internationally.”
Andy Jung will also then be a part of the team to compete at the 2016 World Short Track Championships in Seoul, Korea, from 11th to 13th March. He will be joined there by Pierre Boda and Deanna Lockett.
For Lockett, the next two World Cup events will mark her return to competition for the first time in the 2015-2016 season, after illness forced her to make a late start to the off season training and competition seasons.
Barthell has been impressed with the attitude and performances over the last two months in particular of the OWIA team, and is excited about their prospects ahead of the World Cup season resumption.
“World Cups three and four were a great swing in the right direction for the team. They all came out and skated as if they wanted to make it to each and every final, which is what I’ve been looking for them to do,” he added.
“Andy Jung seems to have found himself and is skating exceptionally well now, and is looking to finish with some pretty decent results, Barthell said.
“Pierre had an exceptional weekend in Shanghai with his seventh place finish, and that has given him a bit of confidence in his abilities and has gotten the guys to follow suit with their confidence, seeing their teammate make it that far, encourages them to strive for the top.”
“Alex Bryant and Keanu Blunden are coming along fairly well. Individually they will plan to be competitive in each and every race,” Barthell said.
The ISU World Cup season resumes on the 5th February in Dresden, Germany following the Junior World Championships.
IMAGE: Andy Jung, Pierre Boda and Alex Bryant training earlier in the season © ShortTrackHD