Eley raring to go as men's relay team chase success at Euros

Jon Eley admits he is looking forward to getting the competitive juices flowing again as Great Britain’s men’s relay team chase success at the European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Dordrecht this weekend.

Three-time Olympian Eley will concentrate his efforts on the relay competition in Holland, having been named in the men’s squad alongside Richard Shoebridge, Billy Simms, Jack Whelbourne and Paul Stanley – the latter two also selected to compete individually.

Eley took home a bronze medal as part of the men’s 5000m relay team in the second World Cup meeting of the season in Montreal last November.

He then missed the following two legs of the World Cup in Shanghai and Seoul – Elise Christie and Whelbourne Britain’s sole representatives in Asia – before an outing in the ISU Star Class Cup earlier this month in Nottingham saw him finish third overall.

But with attention back on the relay, and with training now over, Eley, a member of the British 5000m relay team which broke the world record in February 2011 and world relay bronze medalist in 2014, is looking forward to the team putting on a good show.

“I’m feeling good and I’m looking forward to getting back into competitive racing in Europe this weekend,” he said.  “I’m not a big fan of training, I much prefer competitions.

“We’re feeling in a good place. We picked up a medal in the World Cup at the start of the season and we’re looking for another good performance this weekend before focusing on trying to qualify for the World Championships.

“We have done a lot of work as a team the last few weeks. I’m excited, there’s a great atmosphere within the team and we really want to win a medal.”

The European Championships, beginning on Friday before running through to Sunday, serve as a warm up event ahead of the World Short Track Championships in Moscow in March.

Christie and Charlotte Gilmartin will also compete in the women’s individual competitions with GB short track squad performance director Stuart Horsepool looking for his troops to step up to the mark.

“The European Short Track Championships is a really important event,” Horsepool told GB Shortrack.

“Over the years the standard of skaters competing has grown hugely, and each year it gets more and more challenging for the team.

“The skaters have been training hard over the past couple of weeks and it will be good to get them out competing at a championships level again.

“What I want to see from the skaters is them practicing their racing craft in a competitive environment so that when it comes to the World Championships they are ready to go hard and hopefully reach the podium.”

© Sportsbeat 2015