Aussie Skaters Impress in Canada
Australia has had a successful World Cup short track meet in Saguenay, Canada, over the weekend, with Melbourne's Julie Jung taking a career best finish in the 500 metre event of the ISU sanctioned event.
The 21-year Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) scholarship holder finished ninth overall in the sprint after a strong weekend of skating.
In the second 500 metre World Cup event at the meet, Jung was second in her heat, and then finished third in her quarter final race to qualify for the C Final, for those placed between 9th and 12th in the 29-strong field.
Jung, whose previous best World Cup finish was 19th in Shanghai last year, out-skated her Italian, Russian and Polish opponents to win the C final by nearly 0.2 of a second.
The placing, clearly a career best, elevated Jung to ninth place overall.
After finishing 11th in the 1500 metres in the USA a week earlier, Australia's 15-year old emerging skater, Deanna Lockett, again impressed in Canada.
While she could only manage 22nd place in the 1500 metres, it was her performance in the 1000 metres that again showcased her potential.
The Queenslander finished fourth in her opening heat, but then won both the repechage heat and semi-final races before eventually finishing fourth in her quarter final back in the main draw.
With the fastest time outside of the non-qualifiers for the final, this saw her end the competition in 13th place overall from the field of 34 skaters.
In the men’s competition, Pierre Boda made it all the way to the quarter final stage in the 1000 metres event, eventually taking a World Cup best 17th place, while team-mate Lachlan Hay was 25th in the 1500 metres.
Australians Boda, Hay and World Cup rookies, Ron Caldecutt and Armstrong Lazenby finished third in their heat of the 5000 metre relay event, to finish in 11th place. More importantly, the AIS scholarship holders skated a personal best time in their heat, carving four seconds off their previous mark.
"It was such a good day for Australian speed skating," Australian coach, Ann Zhang, said.
"I am so happy for the whole team, and especially for the girls, whose performance really has surprised many in the skating world."
The ISU World Cup for Short Track Skating next heads to Asia, for round three of the series, to be held in Nagoya, Japan, from December 2-4.