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.