Lockett impressive in World Cup debut
Fifteen-year old Australian short track skater, Deanna Lockett, has produced a strong performance at her World Cup debut, finishing in 11th place in the 1500 metres at the opening round of the series in Salt Lake City.
After winning the national 1500 metre title earlier this month, the Brisbane schoolgirl came up against the cream of the world’s short track skaters, but was undaunted by the challenge.
Impressive skating in her heat brought the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) scholarship holder to the attention of her rivals as Lockett led the field for 10 laps with just two laps to go.
The highly ranked Japanese and Canadian skaters in the heat struggled to get past the diminutive Lockett until a lap and a half from the finish, where she was knocked over in the process of them passing.
The referees ruled the athlete was unfairly interfered with and gave her a berth in the semi-finals.
Again Lockett performed well beyond expectations, and after a hard-fought race she finished in fourth place, less than seven tenths of a second from victory, qualifying for the B Final.
Lockett finished fourth in the final race, a result that gave her an overall placing of 11th for the World Cup meet.
The 1500 metre final was taken out by the American skater, Katherine Reutter, with Korea’s Eun-Byul Lee in second place.
Fellow AIS team-mate, Julie Jung, had a mixed weekend, missing out on the 1000 metre finals, but skating a personal best time of 45.695 seconds in the 500 metre discipline.
“Julie didn’t make it through to the World Cup final, but performances in her three races show that she will be a very good 500 metre skater in the future,” Australian team coach, Ann Zhang, said.
Australia’s male skaters also performed solidly over the course of the weekend.
Lachlan Hay finished 22nd in the 1500 metre event for men, while Ron Caldecutt recorded a personal best time in the 500 metre heats.
In the 5000 metre relay for men, Hay and Caldecutt teamed up with fellow Aussies, Pierre Boda and Armstrong Lazenby. The quartet finished third in their heat, but failed to make it through to the World Cup finals.
Round 2 of the ISU Short Track World Cup will be held in Saguenay, Canada, this weekend.