This week sees brothers Ryan (22) and Sean McAnuff (20) begin their journey through four stops of the Audi International Skating Union (ISU) World Cup Short Track Speed Skating to secure berths for Ireland at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, Republic of Korea.
The McAnuffs will kick off their Olympic qualifying campaign in Budapest, Hungary (28 September – 1 October). They will race against athletes from 40 countries over three disciplines – 500 metres, 1000 metres and 1500 metres. The subsequent three World Cup meets will be in Dordrecht, Netherlands (5-8 October), Shanghai, China (9-12 November) and Seoul, Republic of Korea (16-19 November). Skaters will earn points for each distance they race at the four World Cups with their three best results counting towards their qualification ranking. The top ranked 32 skaters in the 500 and 1000 metres and 36 skaters in the 1500 metres will book their places in PyeongChang. A maximum total of 60 skaters across all distances will qualify for the Olympics.
In 2016, the brothers became the first Irish short track speed skaters to compete on the international circuit. Ryan represented Ireland at the 2017 European Championships in Italy and the 2017 World Championships in the Netherlands, while Sean flew the tricolour at the 2017 Junior World Championships in Austria all for the first time. During the summer of 2017, they moved from Canada to the Netherlands to train full-time with the Dutch national team.
“We are excited to to start the World Cup events and race against the best short trackers in the world who all have the same goal as we have,” Ryan said.
“We really feel that making the move to the Netherlands has really added another dimension to our skating and we are ready to just get out there and race,” Sean added.
You can follow the McAnuffs’ progress in Hungary via the Ice Skating Association of Ireland Facebook and Twitter accounts and, on 30 September and 1 October, the ISU Skating Channel.