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British team relishing return to Sochi says Horsepool

February 4, 2013 17:42 pm

Stuart Horsepool insists the British short track speed skating team are relishing a return to Sochi for next year’s Olympics after season’s best World Cup performance in the 2014 host city.

Seven Brits travelled to Russia to compete in the Iceberg Skating Palace for the Olympic test event with Elise Christie maintaining her fine form by winning 1500m bronze and 1000m silver.

They were the 22-year-old’s sixth and seventh World Cup medals this season with her silver in the 1000m wrapping up the overall World Cup title in the distance ahead of this weekend’s finale.

Two-time Olympian Jon Eley reached the B finals in both the 500m races, placing second in the first for sixth overall and third in the second for seventh overall in Sochi.

Paul Stanley joined him in the first 500m B final, ranking eighth overall, before both formed part of the British 5000m relay team along with Richard Shoebridge and Jack Whelbourne.

They British quartet were lying in second in the final with six laps to go but crashed while trying to overtake the eventual winners and home nation Russia and finished fourth.

And Horsepool, Britain’s short track speed skating performance director, is adamant such performances in the Olympic arena bode well for this time next year.

“There were great performances across the board all weekend, the men’s relay was outstanding, we had two medals from Elise and we had eight top eight’s which has been our best performance in the world cup so far,” said Horsepool.

“It has shown that the programme we have in place is working so I’m really pleased with the results. The boys did fantastically well here after what was, for them, a disappointing Europeans.

“They are back up with the top teams in the world, and even though they fell, it is great to see them challenging the Russian team on their home soil ahead of next year.

“The performances we had this weekend have been the best we have had all year, and to be getting these results at the test event for the Olympic venues is a fantastic place to do it.

“Because the team have had good results here they now have a good feelings and positive emotions linked to the venues here in Sochi, which is very important psychologically ahead of next year’s Games.

“We are very much looking forward to coming back here for the Olympics.”

© Sportsbeat 2013