Aussie Short Trackers secure crucial rankings for PyeongChang 2018
20 November 2017
SHORT TRACK SPEED SKATING: The pressure was on for Australia’s short track team this weekend as they competed at the final World Cup in Seoul, just 126 kilometres west of PyeongChang.
Though the final quota places won’t be released until early December, it would appear that Deanna Lockett has successfully qualified a female position in the 1500m and 1000m for the Winter Games, while Andy Jung is set to secure Australia a position in the men’s 500m.
“This was the last qualifying event and a chance to try [and] move up in ranking,” coach Lachlan Hay said.
“Unfortunately, we won’t know just yet what the final list will look like but we should look like we will have a male and female qualified for the Games in February.”
Lockett, who made her Olympic debut at Sochi in 2014, said that she was “relieved” to have “qualified safely and strongly” following the conclusion of the World Cup and looks forward to focussing on preparing for the 2018 Games.
The 22-year-old narrowly missed out on progressing to the finals for the 1500m and 1000m in Seoul, placing fifth in the semi-finals for both races to secure her 9th place overall in the 1000m, and 14th in the 1500m.
“Competing in all the distances and racing all four days of the competition is very mentally and physically tiring, I am happy to give myself a short rest,” she said.
“Mostly I am happy with the results, I got my first podium finish and I have been trying different things with my new strengths this season. I’m learning what is best for me.
“I don’t think I raced to my full potential this World Cup due to some racing mistakes, but I have learnt and I’ll be better and stronger.”
President of Australian Ice Racing, Frank Anderson, said that Lockett’s bronze medal in Budapest was “an obvious highlight” of the Short Track World Cup season.
“Deanna has had a strong and solid World Cup campaign and has worked hard to try and grab a berth in all three distances, but she can be happy and proud to have secured start positions for Australia in the 1000m and 1500m,” Anderson said.
“There are still formalities to go through, but Deanna is in a class of her own when it comes to Australian women in our sport and we can’t see anyone else taking these positions for PyeongChang.”
Coach Lachlan Hay said that Seoul was a “good mental challenge” for Lockett who performed well even though she hadn’t been in her “peak form”.
“Despite not feeling 100 percent this week, Deanna performed really well and still managed consistent results,” he said.
As for the Aussie men, Hay said they were “a lot more focused this week”, skating a lot better than they had previously, but unfortunately weren’t lucky enough to progress past the heats.
“The pressure was on to try and move up in the 1500m and 500m,” he said.
“At this stage it’s hard to say where we will finish but we had some good races and got through some tough heats.
“[It] would have been perfect to make some semi-finals but unfortunately [we] couldn’t get there this week.”
Andy Jung, who is currently ranked 20th in the men’s 500m, looks set to secure a quota for Australia at PyeongChang with 32 spots up for grabs.
“With the men, Andy Jung has qualified Australia a position in the 500m, and it would appear we will also be in a position to obtain a quota position in the 1500m. This will mean one male will get to skate two distances in PyeongChang,” Anderson said.
“This is a great result for our team, especially with four men having qualified for the right to trial for these positions on the 6th and 7th of December in Melbourne, highlighting how we have grown our depth of talent over the last few years.”
Australian Ice Racing will hold Olympic selection trials at the O’Brien Group Arena in Melbourne on December 6 and 7 to determine which athletes will represent Australia at PyeongChang 2018.