The Star Class competition last weekend was attended by seven National Ice Centre based skaters. This was our first Star Class competition of the season and overall it went well.
Group 1 Ladies (under 17)
Jessica Urquhart – 8th overall
Isabelle Roberts – 15th overall
Georgia Shanahan – 26th overall (out of 27 skaters)
Group 1 Men (under 17)
Jacob Porter – 23rd overall (out of 40 skaters)
Group 3 Ladies (Senior)
Gemma Cooper – 14th overall
Jennifer Pickering – 20th (out of 21 skaters)
Group 3 Men (Senior)
Josh Cheetham – 8th (out of 17 skaters)
The skaters are now back on the ice here in Nottingham and training hard in preparation for the next competition on 2 November.
The GB Short Track speed skaters put in a good performance in Germany this weekend (24-26 October), at the first event in the 2014-15 Star Class Cup series. The squad, who are all part of NISA’s World Class Short Track Performance Programme, won one gold, five silver and one bronze medal in Dresden, along with two second place finishes and one third place finish in the overall classification.
Among those medalling were Nottingham based skaters Charlotte Gilmartin, Billy Simms, Josh Cheetham and Kathryn Thomson. Simms was on good form, taking gold in the senior men’s 1500m and silver in the 500m and 1000m, placing him second in the overall classification. Josh Cheetham followed closely behind taking third place in the overall classification after winning the silver medal in 1500m.
Charlotte Gilmartin also put in a strong performance in the senior women’s event, finishing second across 1000m and 1500m to put her in second place in the overall classification.
Performance Director, Stuart Horsepool commented: “I was really pleased with the quality of the competition in Dresden this weekend, both from the GB skaters and that of other countries. The whole idea is to go there and develop their racing skills and it has given them lots of areas to work on and develop ahead of the next race of the season.
“We’ve also come away with our fair share of medals which, combined with the experience they’ve gained from the competition, makes for a successful weekend of racing”.
Kathryn Thomson claimed the bronze medal in the women’s senior 500m race, placing her in fifth place in the overall classification, while Jack Burrows showed consistency by finishing in the top eight in all of his races.
The event was the first of six Star Class events scheduled for the 2014-15 season, which culminate with the Europa Cup Finals in March next year. The fastest eight skaters from East and West Europe will go on to compete at the Junior Europa Cup Final in Germany on 20-22 March 2015.
Stuart added: “Overall, the squad showed that they have moved forward and that they’re becoming more competitive as the season goes on. In the past, they haven’t all been fast enough to keep up with some of the other skaters, but that wasn’t the case this time. They’re all moving forward and developing and I’m happy with their progress”.
The focus for the squad now turns towards their next big weekend of racing on 7-9 November when the senior squad will head to Salt Lake City for the first event in the ISU World Cup Series whilst the juniors will compete in the annual Alta Valtellina Trophy in Bormio, Italy.
Jon Eley, Paul Stanley, Richard Shoebridge, Jack Whelbourne, Billy Simms, Josh Cheetham, Elise Christie and Charlotte Gilmartin have all made the selection for World Cup 1, while the rest of the squad will compete against the rest of Europe in the Alta Valtellina Trophy.
This weekend (24-26th October), British speed skaters will be in action at the Star Class Cup in Dresden, Germany. Nine members of GB Short Track’s World Class Performance Programme will be competing against the best skaters in Europe to battle it out for a place in the final.
This is the first of six Star Class events scheduled for the 2014-15 season, which culminate with the Europa Cup Finals in March next year. The final will see the fastest eight skaters in each age group category from East and West Europe go on to battle it out for a podium place.
Murray Cochrane, Billy Simms and Josh Cheetham will compete in the senior men’s event, while Charlotte Gilmartin will be representing Great Britain in the senior women’s competition. Aydin Djemal will race in the male Junior A (U19) category with Jack Burrows and Jonathan Moody competing in the men’s Junior B (U17) events.
Also joining the British team are Kathryn Thomson and Jennifer Pickering, who will both be competing in the women’s Junior A category.
Across the course of the competition, the skaters – who were selected at the National Squad Open Trials in September this year – will compete over three distances against some of Europe’s top skaters.
Performance Director, Stuart Horsepool commented from Dresden: “The Star Class Cup provides these young athletes with an opportunity to try out new skills and get into the competition mindset. The skaters have all been with us for varying lengths of time and those with more experience are likely to do better. Results aren’t our main driver this weekend though; we are here to gain valuable experience on the international circuit and I want the athletes to focus on developing their racing technique”.
The Star Class Cup is supported and funded by the International Skating Union. Following the first event in the series this weekend, the next event will take place in Bormio, Italy between 6-9th November, followed by an event at the National Ice Centre in January.
Elise Christie shone at the Invitation Cup in Heerenveen, Holland this weekend (18-19th October) after winning two individual distances (1000m and 1500m) to finish first in the overall classification on points. This is her fifth consecutive win at the competition, which sees the squad compete in their first international race of the 2014-15 season.
Christie commented on her win: “It was great to be back competing this weekend and to come away with a good result. The first international race of the season is always a challenge, as you are going into it blind without really knowing who your key competition is, but I was confident amongst the other skaters and was able to use it as an opportunity to try different tactics and sharpen my skills. I will try to take as much as I can from here and build on it going into Salt Lake City.”
Performance Director, Stuart Horsepool said: “Elise really stood out as the winner in the women’s racing from the start this weekend. She was much stronger than the other girls, which meant that she has been able to use the competition as an opportunity to try out different strategies and ways of racing, yet still finish in top position.
“As we focus our attention towards the World Cup Series which starts next month, Elise will begin to come up against her main competition in some of the Korean, Chinese and Canadian skaters. These races will be more of a challenge for her, so having this opportunity to perfect her skills and put everything from training into practice in a competitive environment has been invaluable going into the start of the season”.
In the men’s competition, Jack Whelbourne skated consistently to take second place in the overall classification after racing through to the final of the 1000m and winning. On Saturday, he came second in 1500m, coming in closely behind Hungary’s Sandor Liu Shaolin. Charlotte Gilmartin also put in some good performances to finish third in the 1500m, which put her in fifth place overall in the women’s event.
There was also a top ten overall classification finish from Richard Shoebridge who finished ninth, and the men’s relay team finished third behind Hungary and the Netherlands. Unfortunately, Jon Eley didn’t skate on Sunday due to a hamstring strain.
The event was a preparation competition for the squad ahead of the start of the ISU World Cup Series, which begins early next month (7-9th November) in Salt Lake City.
Stuart said he was pleased with the whole squad’s performance in Heerenveen, where they have beaten some of the best teams in Europe, including the Dutch who are reigning world champions. He added:
“It was a good competition overall. The first day was a bit of a shake up for the squad after some initial performances that weren’t quite up to standard, but they soon got into their stride and started skating well, with some good results to back it up. The idea of a preparation competition is that the athletes get back into competing, because even though training is of course vital, the nature of short track means that you also have to be sharp when you race.
“Elise and Jack did well this weekend, but the true value of this competition is not the titles they have won here, but the race practice that they and the squad now take into the World Cup in a few weeks time.”
The squad now begin their final preparations for the opening ISU World Cup in Salt Lake City on 7-9th November, followed by the second stage in Montreal on the 14-16th November.