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).
O’Brien raced six times over the course of the three days of the championships inside the Hala Olivia ice rink 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 4 of the 1500 metres quarterfinals and came fourth in a time of 2:18.718. The 500 metres heats saw him come third in Heat 3 with a time of 43.156. His last event of the opening day of competition was the 1000 metres heats where he clocked 1:33.010 in Heat 4 to finish fourth.
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 second in Heat 3 in a time of 2:32.957 to finish 23rd overall in that distance. He came second again in Heat 4 of the 500 metres with a time of 42.826 to place 27th overall for the distance.
O’Brien wrapped up on the final day with the ranking final for the 1000 metres where he achieved second in Heat 3 with a time of 1:31.002. He placed 28th in the distance which gave him an overall championship classification of 25th. This is the highest placement ever by an Irish short track speed skater at an ISU Championship.
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 European Short Track Speed Skating Championships which will be held in Dresden, Germany.
“Thank you to everyone who cheered me on and thank you to the ISAI for giving me the chance to represent Ireland at the European Championships,” O’Brien said. “It was a bit different with the whole bubble system this time, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and hopefully next time can do a bit better and represent Ireland proudly.”