McAnuff and O’Brien Halfway Through Beijing Olympic Qualifying Journey

Sean McAnuff (24) and Liam O’Brien (22) have reached the midpoint of their quest to qualify quota places for Ireland at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games with the conclusion of racing at the second ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating of the season in Nagoya, Japan.

McAnuff and O’Brien took to the ice on the opening of competition in the 1500m heats and 500m preliminaries. McAnuff was first up in Heat 2 of the 1500m in which he finished 6th in a time of 2:23.958. He finished 73rd for the distance. O’Brien originally finished 6th in Heat 10 in a time of 2:29.293, but due to being impeded by another skater during the race he was advanced to the quarterfinals. He finished 4th in the 1500m quarterfinals in a time of 2:24.694 which meant he was assigned to the 1500m ranking finals later on in the week.

Later on the same day, McAnuff and O’Brien were back for the 500m preliminaries in the Nippon Gaishi Hall. Liam O’Brien raced in Heat 4 and crossed the line in 3rd place. Unfortunately, due to a rule infringment, he received a penalty and he was classified 83rd for the distance. McAnuff was up in Heat 10 where he finished in in 4th place in a time of 44.761 and in 61st place overall.

On the second day of the event, McAnuff and O’Brien were drawn in back to back heats of the 1000m preliminaries. McAnuff drew Heat 3 and he came in 5th in a time of 1:29.642. He was followed by O’Brien in Heat 4 who clocked a time of 1:33.046 to wind up 4th. McAnuff and O’Brien were ranked 69th and 62nd respectively for the distance.

The 1500m ranking finals was the last action for Team Ireland on Day Three of the World Cup. O’Brien recorded a time of 2:33.357 to place 7th in Heat 2 and was classified 35th for the distance.

After the first two World Cups, the current World Cup Classification for the Irish skaters in each distance is as follows:

Sean McAnuff – 500m (71st), 1000m (70th), 1500m (56th)

Liam O’Brien – 500m (60th), 1000m (60th), 1500m (45th)

The 2021/2022 World Cup Short Track Speed Skating will continue in just under three weeks time when the circuit moves to Europe with stages in Debrecen, Hungary (18-21 November) and Dordrecht, Netherlands (25-28 November).