British record for women's relay in Seoul

Britain’s female short track speed skaters have broken the British Record in the 3000-metre relay on the second day of competition at the Samsung ISU World Cup in Seoul (3-6 October). 

The squad, comprising of Elise Christie, Charlotte Gilmartin, Alex Stanley and Kathryn Thomson, who is just seventeen-years-old, finished third in their heat in a time of 4:14.743, nearly two seconds faster than the previous record of 4:16.421 set in Dresden in 2010.

Charlotte Gilmartin and Alex Stanley
Image courtesy of David Tyrell

“It’s a big step forward for our women’s relay team. Two seconds is a huge margin in short track and it shows the improvements the girls have made. Kat (Thomson) in particular has done well, she is very young but her confidence is growing from competing here and it is reflected in her and the team’s performance” said Performance Director Stuart Horsepool.

He added: “They were up against Italy and the Netherlands in the heat and were close to qualifying for the semi-final. For them to be close to those nations is good to see because they are well established relay teams from very competitive nations.”

Nottingham born skater Alex Stanley (25), who held the previous British Record with Christie, Gilmartin and former Olympian Sarah Lindsay, said: “It’s really nice to see the improvement in our performance. We’ve been working really hard on the technical aspects to help us bridge the gap between us and other nations, so to see it pay off gives us a lot of confidence.”

Alex StanleyDespite the poor quality of ice in their heat, the men’s relay team finished first in 5000-metre relay to progress to the semi-final on Sunday. Great Britain were placed in the final heat of four and were the only nation who were able to withstand the ruts in the ice from previous heats to remain on their feet and finish first.

Horsepool said: “After so many heats of 5000m the ice becomes very choppy and racing becomes difficult. The men were looking as though they were going to qualify regardless of the falls from the other teams, but they did well to keep their composure and make it across the line safely.”

In individual events, five athletes have progressed through to the quarter-finals taking place tomorrow and Sunday. Elise Christie, Charlotte Gilmartin and Paul Stanley progressed through to the 1500m quarterfinals, and Jack Whelbourne and Jon Eley to the 500m quarterfinals. Both the 1500m and 500m take place tomorrow.

Elise Christie and Jack Whelbourne skated well today to also reach the quarter-finals of the 1000m which will take place on Sunday, along with the men’s 5000-metre relay. Jack Whelbourne said:

“Making top sixteen in both distance is really good, not just for me, but for the team. If any of us do that at Olympic qualifiers next month, it’s good for all of us in terms of qualifying spots for Sochi.”

Live streaming of the ISU World Cup in Seoul begins at tomorrow morning from 9.20am. Watch it live at the ISU Skating Channel:

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Image of Alex Stanley courtesy Michael Poole