This week Irish short track speed skaters Ryan McAnuff (22) and Sean McAnuff take to the ice in Dordrecht, Netherlands for the second stop of the Audi International Skating Union (ISU) World Cup Short Track Speed Skating in the qualification process to secure berths for Ireland at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, Republic of Korea.
The McAnuffs kicked off their Olympic qualifying campaign last week in Budapest, Hungary. In the Netherlands, they will race against athletes from 40 countries over three disciplines - 500 metres, 1000 metres and 1500 metres. The subsequent two World Cup meets will be in 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.
"As we have been training in the Netherlands for the past few months, it's going to be nice to race in a familiar atmosphere on such a big stage" Sean said.
"We are looking forward to building on what we did in Hungary last week and push ourselves up the rankings," Ryan added.
You can follow the McAnuffs' progress in the Netherlands via the Ice Skating Association of Ireland Facebook and Twitter accounts and, on 7 and 8 October, the ISU Skating Channel.