Stuart Horsepool admits the hard work starts now for his short track speed skaters after Jon Eley and Elise Christie enjoyed success on their return to the ice for the British Championships in Nottingham.
Three-time Olympian Eley won the men’s title ahead of Richard Shoebridge and Josh Cheetham while Christie claimed the women’s with Charlotte Gilmartin second and Gemma Cooper third.
It marked a competitive return to the ice for Eley, Christie and the rest of the British team that travelled to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games and then the World Championships in Montreal shortly after.
Christie won 500m silver in Canada after a cruel Games in Russia, which saw her effectively disqualified from all three of her races, while Eley was part of the men’s 5000m relay team that won world bronze.
The four-year cycle towards the next Winter Olympics in PyeongChang in 2018 now begins and performance director Horsepool admits there will be no let up as the squad slowly begin to build towards the Games.
“It was good for the squad to get back on the ice to compete. The British Championships usually takes place in January but it was postponed this year to ensure it didn’t coincide with the Sochi Winter Olympics,” he said.
“The timing has been ideal for us as it has enabled the athletes to get back into competing after a short break from the ice.
“The nature of short track means that you have to be sharp when you race, so these competitions are critical for Jon, Elise and the rest of the squad to perfect their technique.
“I’m pleased with how the squad performed and we’re now looking forward to training hard on the ice as we build up to the 2014-15 season.
“True value of this competition is not the titles the athletes have won here, but the race practice that they and the squad now take forward with them.”
© Sportsbeat 2014