Top 8s and womenís relay final on day 2 of European Championships

Day two of competition of the European Championships in Dresden saw Britainís skaters earn three top eights in the shortest of all short track events, the 500m, and the womenís relay stormed to victory in the closing stages of a dramatic semi-final to reach tomorrow nightís final. 

ďThe team produced some strong performances today and Iím pleased to get a number in the top 8. It hasnít gone Eliseís way today, so she will be determined to come back strong in the 1000m tomorrow and continue to produce excellent performances in the womenís relay. The girls relay team did an excellent job and have qualified alongside a number of teams who will be going to Sochi, which shows just how well theyíve performed hereĒ, commented Performance Director Stuart Horsepool.

Women's relay in the semi-final

Sochi-bound skaters Elise Christie, Jack Whelbourne and Richard Shoebridge all reached the semi-finals after strong contest and adversity in the quarters. After finishing fourth in the 1500m yesterday, Christie looked promising in the opening rounds, producing the fastest times of all skaters including reigning European Champion Arianna Fontana.

Unluckily in the quarter-final, Christieís blade was clipped by Russian Sofia Prosvirnova as she fell in the closing stages. Despite crashing out also, Christie was promoted to the semi-final on advantage but as a result was drawn the outside lane for the start. She finished third in the semi-final behind Italianís Martina Valcepina and Arianna Fontana, who went on take gold, to place 6th overall.

Christie said: ďIím really frustrated at how my individual went today, but thatís short track for you. Being on the outside for the start is difficult because itís so hard to get in the lead from that position and the 500m is so short you donít have much time to make overtakes. I was fourth off the start and took one girl, but unfortunately I couldnít get past the Italians.Ē

Whelbourne and Shoebridge both produced excellent technical races in the quarters, including an impressive overtake on the final bend from Whelbourne to come second. The pair faced a world class field in their respective semi-finals and despite skating with the pack, ran out of time to make the overtakes needed to reach the final. Shoebridge and Whelbourne finished in 7th and 8th respectively, while Charlotte Gilmartin reached the quarter-finals and finished 12th.

The womenís relay (Christie, Gilmartin, Alex Stanley and Kathryn Thomson) once again faced Russia in the semi-final. After spending the majority of the race in third place behind Russia and home-nation Germany, Christie executed a dominating final bend to overtake the two teams and cross the line first, securing the team a spot in tomorrow nightís final against the Netherlands, Hungary, Russia and Italy.

The final day of competition will also see Whelbourne, Shoebridge, Christie and Gilmartin compete in the 1000m, the strongest event in Christieís repertoire.

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