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Bright Spots For Irish Ice Skating Amidst 2020 Challenges

Despite the past twelve months presenting major obstacles for our association and members, 2020 has not been without its highlights for Irish ice skating.

January was a hectic month with the conclusion of the Ice Skating Association of Ireland’s seasonal Emerald Skate lessons, a test session and the annual Winter Challenge. Internationally, Conor Stakelum represented Ireland at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships in Graz, Austria, while Ryan and Sean McAnuff flew the flag at the ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Debrecen, Hungary. Ava Ryan became the first female short track speed skater from Ireland to participate at the ISU World Junior Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Bormio, Italy.

In February, Tara Donoghue continued to make history for Irish ice skating. At the ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland, she placed 11th and 18th in the mass start and 3000 metres races respectively, the highest placements ever for an Irish skater at an ISU Championships. The same month saw the Irish National Figure Skating Championships held at Lee Valley, London where five titles were decided. While it turned out to be one of the final domestic events on the Irish sporting calendar to take place before an initial lockdown in March, the effects of the pandemic were already being felt with the shipment of the championships medals from China being delayed.

Tara Donoghue was the recipient of an ISU Development Programme Junior Scholarship in May becoming only the second Irish athlete ever to be awarded.

Odhrán Allen and Clara Peters were welcome additions to the ISAI Board of Directors in July. Later in the month, the ISAI announced its largest ever national team for figure skating and speed skating.

With a slew of events cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic, it was October before Elizabeth Golding and Sophia Tkacheva became the first national team members to compete internationally when they took part in the Budapest Trophy in Budapest, Hungary.

In November, Golding was back in Budapest for the Santa Claus Cup where she finished fourth.

The ISAI’s Annual General Meeting went online in December with members virtually attending via Zoom.

2021 looks like it will be challenging both domestically and internationally for the foreseeable future with the ISAI’s Emerald Skate lessons for the 2020/2021 winter season and the ISU European Figure Skating Championships next month, for which Sam McAllister had been selected, already cancelled. The ISAI will continue to prioritise the health and safety of its members as we look forward to the day normal activities can be resumed.

 

Seven Speed Skaters Selected To 2020/2021 ISAI National Team

The Board of Directors of the Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI) have selected seven speed skaters to the ISAI National Team for the 2020/2021 season.

The following ISAI members have been chosen to represent Ireland on the international stage at International Skating Union (ISU) events::

Short Track Speed Skating

Ryan McAnuff
Sean McAnuff
Liam O’Brien
Ava Ryan

Speed Skating

Tara Donoghue
Rory McCarthy
Siún Ní Dhúgáin

 

Ryan McAnuff has been selected to the National Team for the fifth consecutive season. At the 2020 European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Debrecen, Hungary, he finished in 34th place overall with a career best individual placing of 24th in the 1000 metres. He is currently studying medicine at the University of Limerick.

Sean McAnuff joins his brother Ryan on the National Team for the fifth time in a row. He placed 35th at the 2020 European Short Track Speed Skating Championships with a personal best individual finish of 25th in the 1500 metres.

Liam O’Brien has been selected for the Irish national team for the second time. He currently trains in Seongnam, Republic of Korea under the tutelage of Lee Kwang Soo.

Ava Ryan became the first female short track speed skater to be named to represent Ireland at an ISU Championships in January 2020. She set three national records in her World Junior Short Track Speed Skating Championships debut. She trains under Simon Cho, 2010 Olympic medallist, at the Potomac Speed Skating Club in Maryland, United States of America.

Tara Donoghue placed 11th in the Mass Start and 18th in the 3000 metres at the 2020 World Junior Speed Skating Championships in Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland, the best results ever by an Irish ice skater at an ISU Championships. Earlier in the season, she also became the first ice skater to earn a spot for Ireland at the Winter Youth Olympic Games.

Rory McCarthy is the first male long track speed skater to be named to the National Team. Based in the Netherlands, his favourite distance is the 500 metres.

Siún Ní Dhúgáin has also been selected to the National Team for the first time. In July 2019, she participated in the “Road to Ice” training camp at Thialf Academy in Heerenveen, Netherlands.

You can find out more about our national team members here.

Sean McAnuff Completes Races At Dresden World Cup

At his third ISU (International Skating Union) World Cup Short Track Speed Skating event of the season, Irish skater Sean McAnuff raced this weekend at the EnergieVerbund Arena in Dresden, Germany.

McAnuff began the competition with the heats of the 1000 metres where he was drawn in Heat 9. He recorded a time of 1:29.247 to place fourth. The following day in the repechage quarterfinals he came joint fourth in Heat 4 with a time of 1:30.524 and was classified 43rd overall for the distance.

McAnuff also contested the 1500 metres (2) in Dresden. For the quarterfinals, he lined up in Heat 8 and posted a time of 2:26.554 for fourth place. In the repechage quarterfinals, he came fifth in Heat 3 in a time of 2:22.114. He was 41st in the overall classification for the distance.

Full results for the ISU World Cup Short Track are available here.

Sean McAnuff Back On World Cup Circuit In Dresden

Irish skater Sean McAnuff races in his third ISU (International Skating Union) World Cup Short Track Speed Skating of the 2019/2020 season in Dresden, Germany  over the weekend (7-9 February).

McAnuff has had a busy season so far with World Cups in the United States and Canada as well as last month’s European Championships in Hungary. He will step on to the ice for the preliminary rounds at the EnergieVerbund Arena on Friday 7 February with racing opportunities also over the course of the following two days.

You can follow the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating live on the ISU’s YouTube channel, the results page and on social media using the #WCShortTrack #ShortTrackSkating and #UpAgain hashtags.

Ryan And Sean McAnuff Ready For Short Track Europeans

Ryan and Sean McAnuff will be flying the flag for Ireland at the ISU (International Skating Union) European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Debrecen, Hungary (24-26 January).

For the second year in a row at the European Championships, Ireland will have two representatives in the men’s category as the McAnuffs secured the spots with their overall placement at last year’s Europeans in Dordrecht, Netherlands.

The brothers will be lining up among 141 skaters from 23 countries who will be vying for top honours in Debrecen. The competition will begin with the qualifying rounds for the 500, 1000 and 1500 metre distances on Friday, 24 January. The subsequent rounds will take place on Saturday, 25 January and Sunday, 26 January.

Ryan is now in the second year of his degree in medicine at the University of Limerick and has been continuing his studies with training. Sean has already participated in two World Cups in Salt Lake City, United States of America and Montreal, Canada.

“I am excited to be racing and representing Ireland once again,” Ryan McAnuff said. “I find it very rewarding balancing full-time medical school as well as training for international competition.”

“This weekend is going to be lots of fun,” Sean McAnuff said. “I will focus on improving each race and implementing the specifics I have been working on in training. I’m very excited to see how it goes.”

You can follow the European Short Track Speed Skating Championships on the ISU YouTube Channel and by using the #EuroShortTrack #UpAgain and #ShortTrackSkating hashtags on social media. Competition results will be updated here.

Irish Figure And Short Track Teams Selected For 2020 Europeans

The Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI) has selected the skaters who will represent Ireland at the 2020 European Figure Skating Championships in Graz, Austria (20-26 January) and the 2020 European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Debrecen, Hungary (24-26 January).

Conor Stakelum will compete in the men’s singles category at the European Figure Skating Championships alongside the cream of European skating talent. In order to qualify for the championships, each competitor had to obtain a set of minimum technical scores at International Skating Union (ISU) international competitions during the previous and/or current seasons.

This is the third consecutive year that the Dundee-based athlete will make an appearance at the European Championships. In January 2018, he became the first Irish male skater to participate in the prestigious championships which were first held in 1891.

“I am very happy to have been selected for my third European Championships and I hope to build on my experience from the previous two championships in Austria,” Stakelum said.

Ryan and Sean McAnuff will also be flying the flag for Ireland later on the same week at the European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Hungary. The brothers were the first Irish speed skaters to compete internationally. At the last edition of Europeans in Dordrecht, Netherlands, two spots for Ireland were secured for the second consecutive year. Ryan is currently a medical student at the University of Limerick, while Sean is based in Canada.

“I am extremely excited to be representing Ireland alongside my brother at another European Championships,” Ryan said. “I can’t wait to take on some of the top skaters in the world!”

“This season I have been working a lot on making the most out of each race, each competition and each practice I do,” Sean said. “I have been trying out new strategies and working on and improving my technique a lot. I am really looking forward to applying all these lessons I have learned at the European Championships in January.”

Sean McAnuff Rounds Out Montreal World Cup

At his second International Skating Union (ISU) World Cup Short Track of the season, Irish skater Sean McAnuff raced this weekend at Maurice-Richard Arena in Montreal, Canada.

McAnuff began the competition with the heats of the 1000 metres (1) where he was drawn in Heat 4. He recorded a time of 1:30.831 to place fifth. The following day in the repechage quarterfinals he was penalised and was classified 46th overall for the distance.

McAnuff also contested the 500 metres in Montreal. For the heats, he lined up in Heat 2 and posted a time of 42.804 for fourth place. In the repechage quarterfinals, he came third in Heat 3 in a time of 42.779. He was 35th in the overall classification for the distance.

Full results for the ISU World Cup Short Track are available here.

Sean McAnuff Completes Salt Lake City World Cup Season Opener

Irish short track speed skater Sean McAnuff competed over the weekend at the International Skating Union (ISU) World Cup Short Track Salt Lake City to begin his season of racing at the Utah Olympic Oval.

McAnuff started the competition with the heats of the 500 metres where he lined up in Heat 1. He finished fourth in a time of 42.826, just over half a second off his personal best. In the repechage quarterfinals, he also came fourth in Heat 4 while bringing his time down once again to 42.658. Overall, he finished 40th for the distance.

McAnuff also participated in the 1000 metres heats where he was drawn in Heat 4. Half way through the race, contact was made between him and another skater on a corner and he was subsequently disqualified. Unfortunately, this also meant he could not skate in the repechage.

Full results for the ISU World Cup Short Track are available here.

2019-2020 Irish Speed Skating Team Announced

The selection of the Irish National Speed Skating Team Team for the 2019-2020 season has been made by the Board of Directors of the Ice Skating Association of Ireland (ISAI).

The ISAI has selected the following members to compete in International Skating Union (ISU) speed skating events for the 2019-2020 season:

Speed Skating

Tara Donoghue

Short Track Speed Skating

Ava Fradlin-Ryan
Ryan McAnuff
Sean McAnuff
Liam O’Brien

Tara Donoghue continued to make history last season by becoming the first Irish speed skater to participate in the World Junior Speed Skating Championships. She also set a number of new Irish records and personal bests over the course of her competitive assignments.

Ava Fradlin-Ryan is the first female short track speed skater to be named to an Irish national team. She trains under Simon Cho, 2010 Olympic medallist, at the Potomac Speed Skating Club in Maryland, United States of America.

Ryan McAnuff started a degree in medicine at the University of Limerick last year and balanced his studies with training and competition. At the European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Dordrecht, Netherlands, he smashed his 1500 metres national record by four seconds.

Sean McAnuff joined his brother Ryan at those Europeans and they became the first Irish ice skaters to compete in the same category at an International Skating Union (ISU) Championships. Sean capped off his season by making his World Short Track Speed Skating Championship debut in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Liam O’Brien is selected for the Irish national team for the first time. He currently trains at the Canterbury Olympic Ice Rink in Sydney, Australia with coaches Scott Weekes and Maggie Holland.

You can find out more about our national team members here.

Sean McAnuff Takes On Short Track Worlds

Sean McAnuff carries Irish hopes that this weekend’s International Skating Union (ISU) Short Track Speed Skating World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria (8-10 March). Read more