This weekend saw the second edition of the British Longtrack Speed Skating Championships in The Hague, The Netherlands. Some 40 British skaters gathered to compete for the national titles in the sprint and middle distances as well as the longer 3 and 5km. The weekend also saw the first ever mass start and Team Pursuit.
UK Longtrack was set up via the National Ice Skating Association, some 4 years ago led by a number of fanatic skaters wanting to expand their enthusiasm for a sport that has been almost dormant in the UK for many years. A very popular winter Olympic sport, longtrack speedskating is now seeing a real revival amongst many who also compete in shorttrack, cycling and inline skating.
This year has seen huge improvements in the sport with 2 junior skaters qualifying for the Junior World Cups as well as 3 younger skaters taking part in the Viking Race, the unofficial junior European championships.
The weekend was dominated by Scottish skater Scott Anderson who has been resident at the KIA Academy in Inzell for 2 years. Scott achieved wins in the 500, 1000 and 1500m races. His biggest competitor was Bristish record holder Phil Brojaka who can nowadays been seen more on the side of the rink coaching many top skaters from all the various disciplines. The women’s 500, 1000 and 1500m were won by Junior Ellia Smeding who this winter had earned the first ever Junior World cup points whilst competing in the mass start in Baselga di Pina.
“Long track speedskating originated in the UK with the Fen skaters”, explains Stephen Airey, UK Longtrack manager “but it was a bit dormant on an international level until Phil Brojaka transferred from short track in 2007. This new revival is hugely exciting and there is some real talent coming through ensuring a future programme in the sport”.
The weekend was topped off by a friendly team pursuit between the British seniors and Team Australia. Jokingly called ‘The Ashes’ the trophy went this year to Team UK.
Published: 30th March 2016