O’Brien Rounds Out Euros With Quarterfinals Appearance

Liam O’Brien made his third appearance at the ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships this weekend in Gdansk, Poland as Ireland’s sole participant on this occasion.

On the opening day of the qualification rounds, O’Brien raced over three distances. First up was the 1500 metres where he was drawn in Heat 5 of the quarterfinals. He kept in contention throughout most of the race, but fell just out of contact in the closing laps and finished fourth in a time of 2:30.801. Shortly afterwards he was back for the 500 metres heats lining up in Heat 6. He raced hard to a time of 42.280 and narrowly failed to advance as he came third. He concluded Day One with another third place in Heat 1 of the 1000 metres heats in a time of 1:30.877.

The second day of the championships saw O’Brien compete in the 1500 and 500 metres repechage quarterfinals. He raced in Heat 2 of the 1500 metres and with five laps to go was already out of contention when he crashed out of the race and ended up with no time. He was classified 34th for the distance. In Heat 5 of the 500 metres, he set up himself up to potentially advance by time as a second place finisher, but was overtaken on the penultimate lap. He posted a time of 42.576 and came 29th for the distance.

All that was left for O’Brien on the final day of the championships was the 1000 metres repechage quarterfinals. With seven laps left in Heat 2, he was disrupted by a fellow competitor, veered off track and came home in fourth with a time of 1:51.968. However, he was advanced to the repechage semifinals due to being impeded. During the repechage semifinal, he once again came off worse for wear from contact with another skater with four laps to go and crossed the line in fifth place in 2:04.946. Ultimately, he was advanced to the main session quarterfinals drawing Heat 1. He finished in 5th place in a time of 1:29.018 concluding his participation at this season’s Europeans with a 19th place classification for the distance.

“It was a weekend with a lot of up and downs,” O’Brien said. I was disappointed I couldn’t show more in the 1500m, but relieved the decisions went my way in the 1000m repechage and came out of it with a quarterfinal.”