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Aussie athletes carve up the ice

25 Oct 2010

Aussie athletes carve up the ice Image

Docklands’ newest sporting facility, The Medibank Icehouse, hosted the first Australian Ice Racing Short Track Speed Skating Championships in 20 years on October 1 and 2.

Local and national elite- and sub-elite athletes took to the rink, contesting distances, including the 500m, 1000m, 1500m, as well as men’s and women’s relays.

Two-time Olympian, and Melbourne local, Lachlan Hay won the senior men’s champion trophy, taking out every distance.

Mr Hay said that having competed on the world stage, he was really excited to see the skills and speed on the ice constantly improving and becoming more competitive internationally.

“At this national level, it’s not only great to see the senior guys and girls advancing, but the junior ranks developing into what will become Australia’s dynamic future of short track,” Mr Hay said.

A potential candidate for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, Julie Jung, from the Roos Club in Queensland, took home gold, winning the senior-ladies division.

The Icehouse will also host the Short Track National Championships in February 2012 when the world’s most promising under-19 skaters from more than 30 countries will compete for the championship title.

The event also saw six-time speed skating Olympic great, Colin Coates, inducted into the Australian Ice Racing (AIR) Hall of Fame. Between 1968 and 1988, Mr Coates competed in six consecutive Olympic games, with

his best performance being achieved in 1976, when he came 6th in the 10km event.

The president of Australian Ice Racing, Jim Hewish, said this year’s Short Track National Championships gave the city a taste of what is to come in the ISU World Junior Short Track Speed Skating Championships.

“The Medibank Icehouse boasts two ice rinks, superior spectator seating, and private facilities for athletes to warm up and stretch while watching the action on a screen. The $58 million ice sports centre is like no other facility in the country and we are proud to host both events, right here,” he said.

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