September 27th, 2016

Town speed skaters shine in national championships

Updated: 10:10 am, May 07, 2015

REDDITCH short track speed skating duo Charlotte Gilmartin and Antony Madkins performed impressively at the British Short Track Speed Skating Championships at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham at the weekend.

The duo, both members of Solihull’s Mohawks Ice Racing Club, finished second and fourth overall in their classes respectively, with Gilmartin only bettered by Scottish star and fellow Sochi 2014 Winter Games Olympian Elise Christie in the senior ladies category and ten-year-old Madkins again showing his huge potential in the junior E category.

Indeed, Madkins has only been short track speed skating for less than a year having taken to the ice in February last year and he is showing signs of enjoying an exciting future in the sport.

Madkins performed exceptionally well and finished fourth overall out of 16 competitors, just missing out on a podium position.

He reached the ‘A’ finals in all three distances – 222m, 333m and 500m – and beat his personal best time in the 500m event as he secured two fourth placed finishes and one third place.

Antony’s father Phil said: “Antony is thrilled with his results having come fourth overall with less than 12 months’ experience at this sport.”

The two-day competition saw Britain’s elite speed skaters compete alongside some of the best club skaters in the UK in the annual event which is organised by the National Ice Skating Association (NISA).

Christie entered the competition on a high after bringing home two bronze medals in the World Cup in Seoul at the end of 2014 and at the weekend she was crowned national champion in all three distances – 500m, 1,000m and 1,500m.

The elite skater was closely followed by Great Britain team-mate Gilmartin – the 2013 European Championship 1,500m bronze medallist who finished second in all three distances – and Nottingham skater Gemma Cooper.

Stuart Horsepool, Performance Director, said: “Elise and Charlotte skated very well. They have both been working on their technical track craft and they have shown how they have developed.

“They are two world level athletes who are constantly learning and pushing hard to be the best and the British Championships is a good way to get them nailing down key skills that will help them get to the top.”

This weekend (January 9-11) Gilmartin and Christie and the rest of the British stars will be in action at the same venue in the ISU Star Class Competition.

Horsepool added: “This weekend, the GB squad will compete again on home ice, but this time they will be racing at an international level.

“The Star Class Competition is the first international speed skating event to come to Nottingham and it already looks exciting with 43 national teams from across Western Europe signed up to compete.

“We have 3,000 local schoolchildren attending on Friday and the rest of the weekend’s racing is open to the public, who I hope to see out en masse to support the British team.”

Tickets for the Star Class Competition are available to purchase from the Capital FM Arena website at www.capitalfmarena.com or by calling 0843 373 3000. Tickets cost £5 each or £12 for a family ticket (two adults and two children).

Antony Madkins and Charlotte Gilmartin starred in Nottingham. (s)

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