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.