Elise Christie and Jack Whelbourne ensured Britain’s successful start to the Olympic winter sport season continued in the Netherlands at the weekend with both buoyed by their winning performances.
Short track speed skaters Christie and Whelbourne claimed the overall titles at the Invitation Cup in Heerenveen as the British team prepare for the World Cup opener in Shanghai at the end of the month.
Christie took titles in both the 500m and 1000m in the Netherlands for first place in the overall classification while fellow Brit Charlotte Gilmartin, a European bronze medallist in the 1500m last season, was fourth.
And Christie, who claimed double European gold, the World Cup title in the 1000m and World Championship bronze over the same distance in a fine last season, is relishing the new campaign.
“The first competition back is always going to be challenging because you are getting used to skating again,” said Christie.
“You don’t really know how the other nations are going to skate but it was fun to be back racing and also good to try some new things, like skating from the back.”
Whelbourne won the 1000m and 1500m for first place in the overall classification himself, fellow Brits Richard Shoebridge and Jon Eley both in the top ten too in eighth and ninth respectively.
The men’s relay team also took gold in both of the 5000m events in Heerenveen and Whelbourne too can’t wait to get the World Cup season, and road to the Sochi 2014 Olympics, up and running.
“It was great to be back competing and to get a good result. I’ve been skating well in training so I was feeling confident before,” said Whelbourne.
“But this is just our prep competition so I will try to take as much as I can from here and build on it going into Shanghai.”
© Sportsbeat 2013
Photo credit Michael Poole