Ryan McAnuff and Liam O’Brien brought this season’s World Cup odyssey for Ireland’s short track speed skaters across two continents and four events to a close at this weekend’s competition in Dordrecht, Netherlands.
Day One (25 November) began with the 1500m heats. McAnuff lined up in Heat 2 where he finished 6th in a time of 2:22.991. He was ranked 71st for the distance at this World Cup. There was plenty of drama in Heat 10 where there was a restart after a crash involving a number of skaters and in the rerun O’Brien was infringed upon by another athlete and promoted to third with a time 2:29.875. For the quarterfinals, O’Brien was drawn in Heat 4 where he came in 6th in a time of 2:17.135.
The 500m preliminaries were on the agenda for the afternoon of Day One and McAnuff raced in Heat 5 where he posted a time of 44.136 coming in fifth for a distance ranking of 76th. O’Brien rounded out the first day for Team Ireland by ending up third in a time of 43.128 in Heat 15. He was ranked 51st in the distance at this World Cup.
The Irish skaters were back on ice for Day Two (26 November) where they contested the 1000m preliminaries. Heat 12 saw McAnuff race to a fifth place finish in a time of 1:28.916 and placed 73rd for the distance. O’Brien crossed the line in Heat 15 with a time of 1:29.370 and was advanced to the next round. He finished fifth in Heat 5 of the 1000m heats in a time of 1:27.993.
O’Brien returned on Day Three (27 November) for the 1500m ranking finals. He raced in Heat 5 where he recorded a time of 2:17.322 for fifth place and five World Cup points. He was ranked in 40th place for the distance in Dordrecht.
O’Brien took to the ice for the last time on Day Four (28 November) for the 1000m ranking finals where he skated in Heat 2. He finished third in a time of 1:31.880 and placed 33rd for the distance which gave him 12 World Cup points and an overall classification of 57th.
“I’m really happy and thankful to be back racing this week,” McAnuff said. “Racing the top athletes in the world and competing at another international event and Olympic qualifier has been a great experience. I enjoyed myself and was proud of my performance. Balancing my final year of medical school and training is difficult, but worth it.”
“It’s been a long two months of racing between the Asian and European World Cups,” O’Brien said. “I am happy with my performance at my first World Cup series competing for Ireland and I hope to build on this base. This week I am happy that I was able to better my 1000m performance from the previous World Cups, but there is still a lot of work to be done.”
The final World Cup classification for the Irish short track speed skaters is as follows:
Ryan McAnuff – 500m (98th), 1000m (102nd), 1500m (101st)
Sean McAnuff – 500m (93rd), 1000m (99th), 1500m (86th)
Liam O’Brien – 500m (66th), 1000m (57th), 1500m (43rd)
The four World Cups served as qualifying events for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games. The Special Olympic Qualification Classification quotas will be allocated by 13 December 2021. Full rules of the Olympic qualifying procedures can be viewed here.