Three members of the GB Short Track Speed Skating world class programme along with five British club based skaters competed at the ISU Europa Cup Short Track Speed Skating finals in Hasselt, Belgium last weekend, 24th to 26th March 2017. The best junior skaters from Europe had qualified through either the Danubia series of competitions (East Europe) or the StarClass series (West Europe).
Aydin Djemal, Jack Burrows and Jonathan Moody from the world class programme, along with Solomon Prempeh, Theo Collins and Olivia Weedon from Aldwych Speed Skating Club, and Isabelle Roberts and Sophie Robertson from Nottingham Ice Racing Club qualified for the event based on their success at the StarClass series throughout the 2016/2017 season. At StaClass, Jack Burrows, 19, had won two gold medals in the Mens Junior A 500m, 20 year old Aydin Djemal won two bronze medals in the Men's 1,000m, whilst Jonathan Moody,18, won Bronze medals in both the 1500m and 1000m Mens Junior A event.
Day one at the Europa Cup Final was the 1500m event. Jonathan Moody reached the A final of the Mens Junior A competition, and despite leading early in the race, fell with 5 laps to go. Jasper Brunsman from the Netherlands won gold. Aydin Djemal reached the Mens final, finishing in 4th place, Leon Bloemfoh from the Netherlands took gold.
On the second day, there was Bronze medal success for Jack Burrows in the 500m, current British Record holder. The event was won by Zvejnieks of Latvia, with Desmet of Belgium in silver. Jonathan Moody finished 5th overall in the 500m after winning the B final. Olivia Weedon reached the A final in the Ladies Junior C competition finishing in 5th place. The winner was Georgie Dalrymple (Netherlands).
After his 500m bronze medal win, Jack Burrows said: “I knew from my previous results in the 500m this season that I would be a favourite for this distance. My aim was to medal in the 500m but I knew it would be hard to reach the final with such a high standard at the event this weekend.
“There were five skaters that potentially could get a medal and I am grateful that I had such a good team around me to push me and help me to get this medal, it’s a positive reflection of everyone's efforts this weekend."
On the final day, it was the 1000m event. Aydin Djemal finished 1st place in the B final of the Mens event, a 5th place overall, the overall winner was Mylan Elzink (Netherlands). Meanwhile Jonathan Moody and Jack Burrows finished in 6th and 7th place respectively in the Mens Junior A event, Lorenzo Morrone (Italy) won the gold.
Team Leader for GB Short Track, Richard Shoebridge reflected on the weekend saying: "It has been a great weekend to wrap up the StarClass series for this season. Our team, consisting of a mix of club, academy and squad skaters, created a very supportive and energetic environment.
“We had some great performances namely the individual medal from Jack Burrows, followed by consistent finishes from Jonathan Moody in the Junior A category. Our team captain, Aydin Djemal, had some solid performances in the senior category, really showing his experience and leadership qualities throughout his racing and also within the team environment.
“Our two Academy skaters, Isabelle Roberts and Solomon Prempeh, impressed myself and the other staff members over the weekend. Both set difficult process based goals and worked hard to achieve them. It's a great start for the Academy skaters leading into the programme’s first full year.
“As for myself, it was a great experience being Team Leader for the first time. After coming back from a very successful European Youth Olympic Festival in Turkey it was great to be part of the StarClass team that has been successful throughout this competition season.
“I'm very excited for the future of all the athletes and next weekend will be another stepping stone in their developments as they battle it out for the British Champion crowns in their respective age groups."
The full results of the Europa Cup Final can be found at:www.shorttrackonline.info.
The final event of the season for the British skaters is the USANA British Short Track Speed Skating Championships which will take place at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham on 1st and 2nd April 2017.