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Short track skaters with a point to prove in Rotterdam

9 March 2017

SHORT TRACK: Three members of the Australian speed skating team are back in action this weekend when they hit Rotterdam for the Short Track World Championships.

Deanna Lockett, Pierre Boda and Andy Jung will represent the nation in Holland; their first event since competing at the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo last month.

“The team is feeling confident after Sapporo and carry some good form into this weekend,” said coach Lachlan Hay, who was pleased with what he saw in Japan.

The athletes competed fiercely at the Games, but could only muster one finals berth between them – a fifth place finish for Boda in the 1500m men’s B final.

Hay believes the modest results do not reflect his athletes’ performances and is expecting better results this weekend.

“They learnt more during that competition and have made a point of bringing that with them this weekend,” he said.

“With where they are at now, I have big expectations for them.”

Lockett, who was the Australian Opening Ceremony Flag Bearer at the Asian Winter Games, is entering the Championships with a point to prove.

The 21-year-old matched her best ever placing at a World Cup event when she finished fourth in the women’s 1,000m at the World Cup in Dresden, Germany just before the Asian Winter Games.

She looked impressive across all three distances in Sapporo, but small mistakes at crucial moments cost her and she was unable to advance beyond the semi-finals in her races.

Working on a more aggressive style, the Sochi 2014 Olympian will be hoping to improve on her Sapporo results and return to her fourth-place form when she competes in Rotterdam.

“She has taken some lessons from [Sapporo] and is working to be a bigger force within the race,” said Hay, who believes she is quickly growing into her new approach to racing.

“I’m expecting to see her claim her position more and stand her ground more firmly, to have more confidence in her aggression this weekend.”

Hay believes all three athletes have improved significantly this season and has high hopes for them as they look towards qualifying for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games.

“They have done a great job staying grounded and focused on the job at hand.

“They have all progressed forward and have got themselves in place now to really build up to the qualifying events at the end of the year.”

The team will be eager to demonstrate that improvement with a strong showing this weekend when all three athletes set to compete in the 500m, 1000m and 1500m events.

The Short Track Speed Skating World Championships begin in Rotterdam on Friday, with the first heats kicking off at midday, local time.

Nathan Lange
olympics.com.au 

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