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Fierce competition for short track skaters in Sapporo

22 February 2017

SHORT TRACK: Despite best efforts Australia's short track speed skaters could not progress beyond the quarter finals of the men’s and women’s 500 metre events at the Asian Winter Games.

Deanna Lockett, Andy Jung and brothers Keanu and Denali Blunden gave it their best shot for Australia but were unable to match their counterparts at Sapporo’s Makomanai Ice Rink on Tuesday.

Lockett was already looking ahead to her final event, the women’s 1,000m to be held on Wednesday.  

“I skated well yesterday and the 500m is not really my distance, tomorrow is another day” Lockett said.

The 21-year-old took a bold risk in today’s quarter final but it didn’t go to plan.

“I set up a good pass on the second last corner but I went a little bit too far forward and I lost all my speed so I messed up the pass to qualify to the next round,” she said.

The Blunden brothers progressed to the quarter finals without issue but Jung was advanced after an incident by another athlete resulted in the 19-year-old falling in his heat.

Jung and Denali then went head to head in a quarter final and the pair finished third and fifth respectively with Jung one place off automatic semi final qualification. Keanu’s fourth place quarter final result also brought an end to his run.  

Denali’s quarter final time of 42:27 inched close to a new personal best.

“I would have liked to get a higher ranking and progress to the semi finals, but getting close to a personal best is good too,” Denali said.

“My heat went fairly well too, I couldn’t get second but I got a fastest third so I was able to advance to the next round.”

A racing incident in the men’s 5,000m relay semi-final saw the Australian and Kazakhstan teams penalised and disqualified.

Wednesday marks the final day of short track speed skating at the Asian Winter Games with the Aussies in action in the men’s and women’s 1,000m.

 Michelle Cook

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