This weekend the Netherlands hosted the ISU European Speed Skating Championships in the iconic Thialf ice arena. British skaters Cornelius Kersten and Ellia Smeding train in Heerenveen full time alongside Team Novus and were busy preparing themselves over the Christmas holidays for the competition.
The action kicked off for the British duo on Friday with Cornelius Kersten competing in the Men’s 1000m ranking 12th with a time of 1:09.74. Coming back from injury the first half of this season, Cornelius commented: “Not my best weekend in terms of ranking, but very happy with the progress I've made since getting injured beginning of the season. This was a nice steppingstone towards the second part of the season.”
Saturday was Ellia Smeding’s first event, the women’s 500m where she came 15th with a time of 39.22 but had to pull out of the 1500m later that day due to illness. To wrap up the competition on Sunday, Ellia raced first in the women’s 1000m where she rocketed into 6th place with a time of 1.17.18 and then Cornelius finished off the competition with a strong performance in the men’s 500m placing 17th with a time of 35.98.
Ellia Smeding commented “Not my best work this weekend at the European champs after getting a bad cold right before, but always grateful to get a chance to race in a full Thialf and for all the support. A decent 6th place in the 1000m, enough to build on for the competitions coming up.”
Competing in front of a packed-out ice arena the British pair put in strong performances with a 6th place finish for Ellia. Keep up to date on the next competitions in the Speed Skating Calendar by checking the ISU website.
Photo courtesy of @vincentriemersma