Team GB on good form on day one of World Championships in Russia

The Great British short track speed skaters have had a positive day at the ISU World Championships in Russia, flying through the heats in the majority of their races.

There were strong performances all round with Elise Christie and Jack Whelbourne leading the way and qualifying through all of their heats today (1500m, 500m and 1,000m). 

Stuart Horsepool, Performance Director for GB Short Track commented: “Elise and Jack have done exceptionally well in the heats today. We saw some fantastic overtaking from the outside from Jack and some nice, clean racing from Elise. 

“Elise finished first in her 1,000m heat and in 1,500m, she came second behind reigning World Champion, Shim Suk Hee; it was by far the fastest heat and Elise looked extremely comfortable”. 

Christie finished second in her 500m heat behind Kexin Fan, who is the best in the world over that distance. 

Jon Eley qualified through to the 500m and 1,000m quarter finals and Charlotte Gilmartin has secured a place in the 1,500m semi finals tomorrow (Saturday 14th March).

Horsepool said: “Jon had a really good skate today and he’s done well to get through the 500m and 1,000m heats. He got one of the fastest times in the first round of 500m and went on to beat Hungary’s Victor Knoch who won Gold in the same distance in the final World Cup of the season. 

“Unfortunately for Charlotte, she received penalties in her 500m and 1,000m heats, which is disappointing as she has been skating really well. She still has one chance left in the 1,500m event tomorrow though. 

The 1,500m and 500m individual events will continue to a finish tomorrow (Saturday 14th March), along with the men’s relay semi final. The event will culminate in the 1,000m and men’s relay finals on Sunday (15th March).

Horsepool added: “Overall, the first day of competition here in Moscow has been really positive. The squad have raced really well in the individual heats; they’re on good form and I’m pleased with the performances they’ve put in today. They are up against some of the best skaters in the world, from 27 countries, some of whom have already been knocked out so the fact that each one of our individual skaters has made it through at least one heat is a good start.

“We got through four out of a possible six heats in the women’s competition, and in the men’s event, we qualified in five out of six heats. We must not get complacent though; tomorrow, we will be fighting for medals in 1,500m and 500m”.  

The GB athletes are all part of the National Ice Skating Association’s (NISA) World Class Short Track Programme.

To follow the results over the weekend, go to http://www.isu.org/en/short-track-speed-skating/calendar-of-events/2015/03/isu-world-short-track-speed-skating-championships.

The races will be streamed live at http://livemanager.eurovision.edgesuite.net/isu/index.html.

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