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O’Brien Selected For Short Track Worlds

Liam O’Brien (25) will fly the flag for Ireland at next month’s ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Rotterdam, The Netherlands (15-17 March).This will be the fourth consecutive time that O’Brien competes at Short Track Worlds. Racing at last month’s European Championships in Gdansk, Poland, he reached the quarterfinals and placed 19th in the 1000 metres.“I am honoured to be able to represent Ireland again at the World Championships for the fourth year running now,” O’Brien said. “I had a good start to 2024 with the European Championships and I am looking forward to finishing the season strongly at Worlds.”The ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships will be streamed live on the Skating ISU YouTube channel.

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.”

O’Brien Kicks Off 2024 At Short Track Euros

Liam O’Brien (25) lines up this weekend at the ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Gdansk, Poland (12-14 January).

The ice at the Hala Olivia is familiar territory for O’Brien with both his two previous appearances in 2021 and 2023 having taken place at the same venue. At last season’s Europeans, he became the first Irish skater to qualify for a semi-final and he will be aiming to do even better this time round. He will be among a field of over 130 athletes from 25 countries racing for top honours at an event that was first held in 1997. Skaters race against each other over 500, 1000 and 1500 metre distances.

“It’s good to be back here in Poland again for the European Championships,” O’Brien said. “I’m looking forward to racing for Ireland this weekend and hope to improve on last year’s semifinal performance and be up there amongst my competitors.”

The ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships will be broadcast on the Skating ISU YouTube channel. Geographical restrictions may apply. The results of the championships can be followed on the event results page and on social media via the #ShortTrackSkating hashtag.

2023 Another Remarkable Year For Irish Ice Skating

2023 witnessed ice skating in Ireland continue its forward progression as more milestones were achieved.

The year began in sensational fashion in January at the ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Gdansk, Poland. Sean McAnuff became the first athlete from Ireland to nab a place in the main session of the championships when he advanced to the 500 metres quarterfinals. Liam O’Brien then went on to do the same by booking himself a spot in the 1500 metres semifinals. Later in the same month, Sam McAllister finally made his ISU European Figure Skating Championships debut at the third time of asking in Espoo, Finland. He finished in 28th place. At home, the ISAI board announced the appointment of Karen O’Sullivan as Chief Executive Officer and Yvonne Brett as Chief Financial Officer. The first post-Covid Emerald Skate test session was held at Dundrum On Ice.

February saw our short track speed skaters Sean McAnuff and Ryan McAnuff in action at events in Germany and Canada respectively, while figure skaters Dillon Judge and Laura Hegarty and Kevin Hegarty competed in the Netherlands at the Challenge Cup.

Liam O’Brien participated in the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships for the third consecutive time when the event was held in Seoul, South Korea in March. Sam McAllister announced his retirement from competitive skating during the month.

Four-time European competitor Conor Stakelum was appointed ISAI Anti-Doping Officer in May.

Rounding out the 2022/2023 season, the Irish Figure Skating Championships were held for the second at the Dundee Ice Arena in June. Titles were decided in five categories with Carolane Soucisse and Shane Firus becoming the first ever Senior Ice Dance champions in the history of the event.

The 2023/2024 season got into full swing in September with two-time Irish Junior Champion Sophia Tkacheva competing at the ISU Junior Grand Prix in Istanbul, Türkiye. The appointment of Stephen Judge as ISAI Privacy Officer was announced. Margery Hilko became the first person from Ireland to qualify as an ISU judge when she passed the ISU examination in Oberstdorf, Germany.

Ciera Turner-Frick represented Ireland at the ISU Junior Grand Prix in Yerevan, Armenia in October. Dillon Judge made his international senior debut at the Tayside Trophy in Dundee, United Kingdom where he was joined by Sophia Tkacheva who skated in the Junior Women’s event. The season got under way for our short track speed skaters at World Cup 1 in Montreal, Canada where Ryan McAnuff and Liam O’Brien raced. O’Brien also entered World Cup 2 again in Montreal where he not only set a new Irish record in the 1000 metres, but also advanced to the 1000 metres quarterfinals.

In November, the 2023/2024 Emerald Skate learn to skate lessons commenced at Dundrum On Ice. Dillon Judge competed at the Denkova-Staviski Cup in Sofia, Bulgaria where he finished 10th. The ISAI Annual General Meeting was held on 29 November in Dublin. It was the first in-person AGM since 2019.

Carolane Soucisse and Shane Firus kicked off December and their season when they participated in the Bosphorus Cup in Istanbul, Türkiye. The second World Ice Skating Day took place on 3 December with bigger and better celebrations than in the previous year here in Ireland. Soucisse and Firus and Dillon Judge took part in the ISU Challenger Golden Spin of Zagreb in Croatia. Liam O’Brien was named as a recipient of a Milano Cortina 2026 Olympic Scholarship and wrapped up 2023 with back to back World Cups in China and South Korea.

2024 promises to be an even more exciting year for the ISAI as the pace picks up on the development of Ireland as an ice skating nation both domestically and on the international stage.

O’Brien Selected For Short Track Euros

Liam O’Brien has been named as Ireland’s sole representative at next month’s ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Gdansk, Poland (12-14 January).

At last year’s Europeans, O’Brien became the first Irish skater to advance to a semi-final at the championships. He has had a busy 2023/2024 season so far racing in four World Cup events in Canada, China and South Korea. He set a new national record in the 1000 metres at World Cup 2 in Montreal. He was also announced as a recipient of a Milano Cortina 2026 Olympic Scholarship earlier this month.

“I’m delighted to be selected once again for Europeans,” O’Brien said. “It’s the first time where I am going into the championships having completed every World Cup prior. I will take that extra knowledge and racing experience and look towards another strong Europeans and add to last year’s results.”

Mixed Fortunes For O’Brien At Seoul World Cup

Liam O’Brien rounded out his racing for the calendar year of 2023 as he took on the ISU World Cup Short Speed Skating event in Seoul, South Korea this weekend.

On the first day of competition, O’Brien lined up for Heat 12 of the 1000 metres preliminaries. He went to the front of the field with seven laps to go, but on the third lap contact made with a fellow competitor disrupted his rhythm. He ended up coming home in fifth with a time of 1:33.118. He next participated in Heat 4 of the 1500 metres (2) distance where he again made a positive move to lead the race with 11 laps left. However, his time in pole position was short lived and he eventually finished fifth in a time of  2:23.184.

It was on to the 1000m repechage quarterfinals on the second day of the competition for O’Brien where he was drawn in Heat 1. Coming up to seven laps to go he was contending, but another skater made contact from behind with him and he crashed out of the race. He got up and crossed the line in fifth place with a time of  2:05.795. The skater who made contact with him was penalised and O’Brien was advanced to the repechage semifinals. Racing in Heat 1, he managed to avoid getting tangled up in an incident early on in the race and kept himself in contention right until the bell rang for the final where he made his move. Unfortunately, he was deemed to have committed an infraction in positioning himself for the win and was penalised by the event referee. He was classified 28th for the distance.

The third day of competition saw O’Brien take to the ice in the Mokdong Arena for Heat 2 of the 1500m (2) repechage quarterfinals. He raced positively throughout and tried to make a move on the third from last lap. However, a bump with a competitor put him off and he came home in fifth place in a time of 2:31.692. He achieved 36th place in the classification for the distance.

O’Brien Lines Up For World Cup 4

Liam O’Brien concludes his racing in 2023 at this weekend’s ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating in Seoul, Republic of Korea (15-17 December).This will be O’Brien’s fourth World Cup this season after competing in Canada in October and China just last week. He will be in familiar territory as his training base is in nearby Seongnam and he has raced inside the Mokdong Ice Rink on a number of occasions, most recently at the World Championships back in March. He will compete over the 1000m and 1500m (2) distances.“I am excited to get out and race in my home away from home,” O’Brien said. “I’m going to put together everything I’ve learnt from the first three World Cups of the season and hope for some good racing.”Each World Cup features races over the 500m, 1000m and 1500m distances with Day 1 solely assigned for qualification rounds. Day 2 and Day 3 combine subsequent qualification rounds and World Cup sessions. Further World Cups will take place in Republic of Korea, Germany and Poland later this season. In Ireland, the action can be viewed live on the Skating ISU YouTube channel and followed on social media via the #ShortTrackSkating hashtag.

Luck Not On O’Brien’s Side At Beijing World Cup

It was a case of what might have been for Liam O’Brien at this weekend’s ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating in Beijing, China as a crucial call did not go his way.

O’Brien began his racing in Heat 1 of the 1500 metres quarterfinals on the opening day of competition. He was contending from the get go and was in the lead with three laps to go when two skaters made their move to go ahead of him. Unfortunately, there was contact and O’Brien crashed out. In the referee’s video review, the Irish skater was deemed to not have given space at the end of the straight and was penalised. He would take no further part in the distance.

Next up for O’Brien was Heat 7 of the 500m (2) Heats. It was a quick race from the off and, even though he finished fifth, his time of 42.253 was a mere four one-hundredths of a second shy of his personal best.

On the final day of the event, O’Brien lined up for the 500m (2) Repechage Quarterfinals. He was drawn in Heat 1 and came home in a time of 43.566 to wrap up his racing in Beijing.

“I’m happy with my progress from World Cups 1 and 2,” O’Brien said. “I felt much more competitive in the 1500 and I thought I was unlucky to receive a penalty. The focus shifts to improving once again in Seoul.”

O’Brien Ready For Beijing World Cup

Short track speed skater Liam O’Brien is ready to race again as he lines up for ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating in Beijing, China this weekend (8-10 December).

This will be O’Brien’s third World Cup of the season after his two outings in Montreal, Canada in October. He came away from those competitions with a new Irish record over 1000m and is aiming to go even quicker inside the Capital Indoor Stadium. He will be racing in the 500m (2) and 1500m events.

It’s good to be back at the Olympic venue here in Beijing, China,” O’Brien said. “After the first training session, the ice feels amazing and the venue is great. I’m looking forward to some constructive racing and fast times!”

Each World Cup features races over the 500m, 1000m and 1500m distances with Day 1 solely assigned for qualification rounds. Day 2 and Day 3 combine subsequent qualification rounds and World Cup sessions. Further World Cups will take place in Republic of Korea, Germany and Poland later this season. In Ireland, the action can be viewed live on the Skating ISU YouTube channel and followed on social media via the #ShortTrackSkating hashtag.

O’Brien Awarded Milano Cortina Scholarship

Short track speed skater Liam O’Brien has been announced as one of just eight Irish athletes to receive a Milano Cortina 2026 Olympic Scholarship.

The scholarship is provided through the auspices of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Solidarity programme with the funding designed to off financial support to athletes who are targeting qualification for the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy.

“I am proud to be one of the eight Team Ireland winter athletes awarded the IOC scholarship,” O’Brien said. “This support helps me strive toward my goal in becoming Ireland’s first short track speed skating representative at the Olympics Winter Games in Milano Cortina 2026.”

“Liam was so close to achieving Olympic qualification for Beijing 2022 and he cruelly missed out by just one place,” ISAI President Seán Gillis. “He has turned that disappointment into motivation for Milano Cortina and this scholarship will enable to him to cross the finishing line this time and realise his dreams.”

Olympic Federation of Ireland Press Release