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Short Track skaters need for speed

17 February 2017

SHORT TRACK SKATING: Australia’s Short Track skaters are feeling the need for speed ahead of the 2017 Asian Winter Games which begin in Sapporo on 19 February.

The six-member team are among the first of Australia's 30 strong athlete contingent to arrive in Japan.

Sochi Olympian Pierre Boda acknowledged the Aussies would be put to the test.

“Most of the Asian countries are pretty strong, so we need to keep our eyes out for almost everyone,” Boda said. “It will be a tough field and hopefully we can skate well."

“We’ve been training hard for the whole season and we’ve had a few competitions here and there so we’re race ready and ready to go.”

Boda said the Asian Winter Games had all the makings of a major event.

“It feels like a big competition, I wasn’t expecting that, it feels like the Olympics,” he said.

Boda's training partner, 20-year-old Alex Bryant is ready to take his skating to the next level.

“Definitely the biggest tournament I’ve been to,” Bryant said. “It’s going to be a new experience for me, a bit of a learning curve but I’m so excited.

“I’ve only just started to be competitive with these guys and racing against them will be really good.”

Smarter skating has been Bryant's focus in the lead-up to what will be his first competition for 2017.

“Just working on race strategy and learning new tactics to beat these fast skaters from Asia,” he said.

Sochi Olympian Deanna Lockett, Andy Jung and brothers Keanu and Denali Blunden round out Australia’s six-member team.

The Asian Winter Games Short Track Skating competition commences on Monday 20 February.

Michelle Cook

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