This weekend Ireland’s Sean McAnuff (24) and Liam O’Brien (23) close out their season at the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Montreal, Canada which had originally been scheduled for last month. This marks the first time that the Ice Skating Association of Ireland fields two athletes in the same category at an ISU World Championships.
McAnuff and O’Brien will be among over 119 skaters from 27 countries participating in the annual event. They will first race on Friday (8 April) in the qualifying rounds for the 500, 1000 and 1500 metre distances with further rounds taking place over the following two days.
McAnuff will be racing for the first time since his season was interrupted in November last year with a bout of Covid-19 causing him to miss out on the final two Olympic qualifying World Cups. He previously competed at Worlds back in 2019.
“With the difficulties of Covid in the prior season, and the postponement of the World Championships this season, many of us have had to sacrifice other areas of our personal lives to try and avoid compromising our skating goals,” McAnuff said. “Now that the end of the season is here, I really want to bring a fun and light hearted atmosphere to this competition, while bringing joy to the sport we all started because of our love for it! One goal for me is encouraging this kind of environment. I think it is important to remember we can’t all take home a gold medal, but we can all take away an experience that fosters our passion for the sport rather than an experience that burns us out.”
By placing 29th at last year’s Worlds, O’Brien qualified two spots for Ireland this time round in the men’s event in Montreal. He continued his good form this season at the World Cups last autumn and agonisingly missed out on securing a quota spot at the Beijing Olympics in the 1500 metres by just one place.
“I am looking forward to getting out there and racing at the weekend for the first time since the World Cups back in November,” O’Brien said. “I hope to improve on last season’s World Championships results and my performance at this season’s World Cup series.”
The World Short Track Speed Skating Championships will be broadcast online in Ireland on the Eurosport Player (paid subscription required) and the ISU YouTube channel. McAnuff and O’Brien will start their campaigns inside the Maurice Richard Arena tomorrow afternoon (8 April) 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.