O’Brien Receives Beijing 2022 Individual Performance Support Award

Irish short track speed skater Liam O’Brien (22) has been accepted to the Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) Beijing 2022 Individual Performance Support programme.

In partnership with the Sport Ireland Institute, the OFI will be providing O’Brien with virtual strength and conditioning assessments, nutritional and psychology consultations in the build-up to next February’s Beijing 2022 Olympic Games.

In March this year, O’Brien finished in 29th place overall at the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Rotterdam, Netherlands. This was the highest placement for an Irish skater in the history of the event.

“The OFI and ISAI have been of great support to me in my preparations for the upcoming season,” O’Brien said. “I am delighted to be granted the Beijing 2022 Individual Performance Support Award and this will assist me tremendously for the competition season ahead and Olympic qualifications.”

O’Brien Cracks Top 30 At Short Track Worlds

Irish short track speed skater Liam O’Brien (22) has finished in 29th place overall on his debut at the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Dordrecht, The Netherlands (5-7 March).

O’Brien raced six times over the course of the three days of the championships inside the Optisport Sportboulevard Arena where comprehensive testing, hygiene and social distancing protocols were in place in accordance with the Guidelines for ISU Events during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

On Day One, he took part in the qualifying rounds for three distances. He was drawn in Heat 2 of the 1500 metres quarterfinals and came fourth in a time of 2:26.068. The 500 metres heats saw him come fourth in Heat 8 with a time of 43.799 after tripping slightly at the start of the race. His last event of the opening day of competition was the 1000 metres heats where he clocked a new personal best time of 1:28.144 in Heat 5 to finish fifth.

The following day O’Brien was back on the ice for two ranking finals. The first race was the 1500 metres in which he came fourth in a drama-filled Heat 3 with a time of 2:39.298 to finish 25th overall in that distance. He came second in Heat 3 of the 500 metres with a time of 43.245 to place 32nd overall for the distance.

O’Brien wrapped up on the final day with the ranking final for the 1000 metres where he notched up another personal best time of 1:27.564 in Heat 2. He placed 33rd in the distance which gave him an overall championship classification of 29th. This is the highest placement ever by an Irish short track speed skater in the history of the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships.

In addition, O’Brien’s overall ranking well inside the Top 32 means that he has secured two spots for Ireland in the men’s category at the 2022 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships which will be held in Montréal, Canada.

“I’m happy with the end result,” O’Brien said. “It was a different level of competitiveness out there this weekend compared to the European Championships and I felt the nerves on Friday, making mistakes that may have cost qualification into the main event.

“I was able to calm down my nerves on Saturday and compete in the ranking finals so I am happy with the progression. I am looking forward to building on that over the coming months and be back out there racing next season.”

O’Brien Lines Up For Short Track Worlds

Liam O’Brien (22) is back flying the flag for Ireland this weekend as he makes his debut at the World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Dordrecht, The Netherlands (5-7 March).

The championships are being held in accordance with the Guidelines for International Skating Union (ISU) Events during the COVID-19 Pandemic with comprehensive testing, hygiene and social distancing protocols in place.

O’Brien will be among over 115 athletes from 29 countries participating in the annual event. He will first race on Friday (5 March) in the qualifying rounds for the 500, 1000 and 1500 metre distances with further rounds taking place over the following two days.

In January, O’Brien placed 25th overall at the European Short Track Speed Skating Championships, the highest finish by an Irish short track speed skater at an ISU Championship.

“I am excited to get out there and race again this weekend,” O’Brien said. “The Dutch federation and the ISU have done a great job at organising the event and keeping the athletes and staff safe during difficult times. It will be a strong competitive field and the racing should be entertaining!”

The World Short Track Speed Skating Championships will be broadcast online in Ireland on the Eurosport Player (paid subscription required). O’Brien’s first event begins tomorrow (5 March) from 1:20pm (Irish time).

The results of the championships can be followed on the event results page and on social media via the #WorldShortTrack and #ShortTrackSkating hashtags.

O’Brien Selected For Short Track Worlds

The Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI) has chosen Liam O’Brien to represent Ireland at the 2021 World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Dordrecht, the Netherlands next month with Sean McAnuff named as substitute.

O’Brien made his debut at an ISU Championships last month at Europeans in Gdansk, Poland where he placed 25th overall, the best ever finish for an Irish short track speed skater at the event.

“I’m honoured to be given the opportunity to represent Ireland again at my first World Championships in the Netherlands,” O’Brien said. “I learnt a lot from my experience at the European Championships and hope to build off my performance and have a strong competition.”

The World Short Track Speed Skating Championship will take place 5-7 March 2021.

McAllister Remains Positive Even as Euros Dream Dashed

On 10 December 2020, two-time Irish senior champion Sam McAllister received word he had been chosen to represent Ireland at the 2021 European Figure Skating Championships. However, later that same day the International Skating Union (ISU) announced the competition had been cancelled due to the worsening situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. In the week when he should have been making his Europeans debut, the Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI) talked briefly with McAllister about how he has kept his motivation despite all the setbacks he has faced this season. Read more

O’Brien Races To 25th At Short Track Euros

Irish short track speed skater Liam O’Brien (22) has finished in 25th place overall on his debut at the European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Gdansk, Poland (22-24 January). Read more

O’Brien Ready For Short Track Europeans Debut

Liam O’Brien (22) will make his ISU (International Skating Union) Championship debut for Ireland this weekend at the European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Gdansk, Poland (22-24 January).

The championships are being held in accordance with the Guidelines for ISU Events during the COVID-19 Pandemic with comprehensive testing, hygiene and social distancing protocols in place.

O’Brien will be among over 140 athletes from 24 countries participating in the annual event. He will first race on Friday (22 January) in the qualifying rounds for the 500, 1000 and 1500 metre distances with further rounds taking place over the following two days.

“It’s a very different atmosphere from previous competitions,” O’Brien said. “We can only leave the hotel for practice or competition and meals are served to our rooms.

“It’s been a long time since my last competition, so I’m excited to get out there and race. It’s also my first European Championships and first international competition representing Ireland so I hope I can put out a strong performance.”

The European Short Track Speed Skating Championships will be broadcast online with the qualifying rounds on 22 January on the ISU YouTube channel and subsequent rounds and finals on the Eurosport Player (paid subscription required). Geographical restrictions may apply.

The results of the championships can be followed on the event results page and on social media via the #EuroShortTrack and #ShortTrackSkating hashtags.

Cancellation of Irish Figure Skating Nationals 2021 (ISAI Communication No.9)

The Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI) Board of Directors has determined that the Irish National Figure Skating Championships will not take place in 2021. Read the full decision in ISAI Communication No.9 below.

ISAI Communication No.9

Bright Spots For Irish Ice Skating Amidst 2020 Challenges

Despite the past twelve months presenting major obstacles for our association and members, 2020 has not been without its highlights for Irish ice skating.

January was a hectic month with the conclusion of the Ice Skating Association of Ireland’s seasonal Emerald Skate lessons, a test session and the annual Winter Challenge. Internationally, Conor Stakelum represented Ireland at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships in Graz, Austria, while Ryan and Sean McAnuff flew the flag at the ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Debrecen, Hungary. Ava Ryan became the first female short track speed skater from Ireland to participate at the ISU World Junior Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Bormio, Italy.

In February, Tara Donoghue continued to make history for Irish ice skating. At the ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland, she placed 11th and 18th in the mass start and 3000 metres races respectively, the highest placements ever for an Irish skater at an ISU Championships. The same month saw the Irish National Figure Skating Championships held at Lee Valley, London where five titles were decided. While it turned out to be one of the final domestic events on the Irish sporting calendar to take place before an initial lockdown in March, the effects of the pandemic were already being felt with the shipment of the championships medals from China being delayed.

Tara Donoghue was the recipient of an ISU Development Programme Junior Scholarship in May becoming only the second Irish athlete ever to be awarded.

Odhrán Allen and Clara Peters were welcome additions to the ISAI Board of Directors in July. Later in the month, the ISAI announced its largest ever national team for figure skating and speed skating.

With a slew of events cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic, it was October before Elizabeth Golding and Sophia Tkacheva became the first national team members to compete internationally when they took part in the Budapest Trophy in Budapest, Hungary.

In November, Golding was back in Budapest for the Santa Claus Cup where she finished fourth.

The ISAI’s Annual General Meeting went online in December with members virtually attending via Zoom.

2021 looks like it will be challenging both domestically and internationally for the foreseeable future with the ISAI’s Emerald Skate lessons for the 2020/2021 winter season and the ISU European Figure Skating Championships next month, for which Sam McAllister had been selected, already cancelled. The ISAI will continue to prioritise the health and safety of its members as we look forward to the day normal activities can be resumed.

 

O’Brien Poland Bound For 2021 Short Track Europeans

The Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI) has selected Liam O’Brien to be the sole Irish representative at the 2021 European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Gdansk, Poland (22-24 January).

This will be O’Brien’s International Skating Union (ISU) Championship debut for Ireland. He currently trains in Seongnam, South Korea under coach Lee Kwang Soo.

“I am very honoured to be given the opportunity to represent Ireland at the prestigious European Championships,” O’Brien said. “It will be my first Senior competition for Ireland and want to put out a strong performance and I am eager to race.”