GREAT Britain short track speed skating national coach Nicky Gooch believes Redditch’s Charlotte Gilmartin produced “her best performance to date” as she claimed fourth place and a personal best time in the 500m at the weekend’s International Skating Union World Cup 2 in Montreal, Canada.
The headline-grabbing achievement for the British squad was the men bringing home their first bronze medal of the 2014/15 World Cup season to cap a fine display from the senior squad, which featured five skaters who secured top ten individual overall finishes across the three-day meeting.
However, it was a competition to savour for Nottingham-based Gilmartin who also finished ninth overall in the 1,500m.
Gooch said of the efforts of Gilmartin, the 2013 European Championship 1,500m bronze medallist: “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.”
Afterwards a delighted Gilmartin took to Twitter to say: “Enjoyed all the racing and fun overtaking at both World Cups, finishing 12th, 10th, 9th and finally 4th. Plus personal best! #progression #consistent #feelingthelove.”
The 5,000m men’s relay team stole the show on Sunday by winning bronze medals in a close final. Jon Eley, Paul Stanley, Jack Whelbourne, Richard Shoebridge and Billy Simms gave a solid performance from the start of the relay races to come second in the heats and then skated their way to first place in the semi-finals.
Gooch said: “The 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.”
Elise Christie also performed well as, despite falling in her 1,000m semi-final, she finished first in the B finals of both the 500m and 1,000m, resulting in a fifth placed finish overall.
Gooch added: “Elise was a little unfortunate, but despite this she performed well this weekend, picking herself up and claiming two B final wins.”
Shoebridge also performed strongly by helping the men’s relay team to victory and skating his way to overall seventh place in the 500m, whilst Stanley placed eighth overall in the 500m after skating his way to third place in the B final.
Gooch continued: “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.
“So far this season, we have broken two British records and the 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 we are right where we need to be at this stage of the season.”
Next month Christie and Whelbourne will head out to Shanghai, China, for World Cup 3 (December 13-15). The junior team will also be competing next month in the second Star Class event of the season in Hasselt, Belgium on December 5.