British Ice Skating is disappointed to report that the GB squad has been withdrawn from the upcoming World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in the Netherlands. All UK residents are currently banned from entering the host country and elite sportsperson exemptions are not being accepted.
Elise Christie, Holly Hoyland and Niall Treacy were due to compete from 5th to 7th March in Dordrecht, Netherlands. The current travel restrictions put in place by the Dutch Government mean there is no possible way for the athletes to enter the country.
This is a huge blow for the GB team and comes after the forced withdrawal from the European Championships in January.
Christie, who won three world titles in 2017, said: “It’s been a very disappointing time over the last year, the World Championships was our light at the end of the tunnel.
“I was so excited, as were the rest of the team, to finally race. As this is one of my last years in the sport I’m devastated.
“I have found my love for skating again and was working really hard into this competition.”
The three-time world champion added: “I’m gutted for my two young teammates, they’ve worked so hard and haven’t had the opportunity to kickstart their careers.
“We’re so grateful to everyone who worked so hard to get us there and prepared. We can only look forward to the Olympic season now and what it can bring us. We will be there ready to fight.”
These World Championships were an opportunity for two very exciting young skaters to make their mark on an international stage alongside Christie. Treacy, flag bearer for Great Britain at the European Youth Olympics in 2017, and Hoyland were set to make their senior World Championship debuts.
Michelle Draper, CEO of British Ice Skating, said: “As we have done throughout this pandemic we have adapted and explored every option to allow our elite skaters to compete at international events.
“Unfortunately, the travel limits put in place meant that this decision had to be made. The determination shown by athletes to keep going throughout lockdown has been inspiring so we look forward to when they can finally compete.”