Nicky Gooch insists the gap between Britain and the world’s best short track speed skating nations is narrowing all the time after they returned from the second World Cup of the season with their first medal.
Britain’s men’s 5000m relay quintet of Jon Eley, Paul Stanley, Richard Shoebridge, Jack Whelbourne and Billy Simms all contributed to a bronze-medal win in Montreal while five top ten individual overall finishes were recorded.
The British relay team were just 0.004 seconds shy of silver in setting a new national record time of 6:36.448 minutes for third and Charlotte Gilmartin recorded a career best finish of fourth in the second of two 500m finals in Canada.
The third World Cup of the season will take place in Shanghai next month with Whelbourne and two-time world medallist Elise Christie, who finished fifth in the 1000m as well as the first 500m final in Montreal, set to head to China.
And national coach Gooch, still the last British skater to win an Olympic short track speed skating medal following his 500m bronze at Lillehammer 1994, believes bigger and better things will be achieved by the team soon enough.
“Overall it has been a really positive start to the season and as a team we have done extremely well with six out of eight skaters reaching the quarter final stages,” said Gooch. “So far this season, we have broken two British records and majority of the skaters have set new personal bests.
“We are starting to close the gap against some of the other world class teams and I feel that we are right where we need to be at this stage in the season. The [relay] team performed really well right from the first heats.
“We knocked out the Olympic champions from Russia in the first round and beat the reigning world champions in the final. We also set a new British record which is a great achievement. Overall it was a very good performance.
“Charlotte had a very good weekend, she got a new personal best and I’d say that this is probably her best performance to date. Elise was a little unfortunate, but despite this she performed well this weekend, picking herself up and claiming two B final wins.”
© Sportsbeat 2014