Speed Skating - Christie takes bronze but is already thinking of Sochi

Elise Christie will return to training next month to start plotting her Olympic campaign - with upgrading her world bronze the number one ambition.

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Short Track - Christie misses out on individual medal at European Championships
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Britain's Elise Christie (Reuters)

Elise Christie will return to training next month to start plotting her Olympic campaign - with upgrading her world bronze the number one ambition.

Christie became the first British woman to win an individual world short track speed skating medal in Debrecen, with her third place in the 1000m final.

But it's a measure of her season, which saw her crowned World Cup champion over the same distance, that the result was tinged with disappointment.

“I was quite nervous before the final and I wasn’t relaxed as maybe I could have been," said Christie, who ranked sixth over 1500m, made the 500m semi-finals and ranked fifth in the 3000m super final.

"I know I had it in me to win so I had quite high expectations of myself, so I’m a little disappointed in that sense, but I am pleased to come away with a medal.”

However, British short track performance director Stuart Horsepool declared himself satisfied with the weekend's work in Hungary.

“We’ve had six top eights finishes and our first ever female World Championships medal, which is brilliant," he said.

"Even though Elise’s medal might not have been the colour she wanted, she and the other skaters have proven that we have a lot of opportunities going forward from here, which is very encouraging.

"It’s been a good Championships and we have finished the season on a high, so there is a lot of self-belief among the skaters and the mood is very positive going into summer training and next season.

"They have a lot of confidence in the programme as well now because they are producing their best performances at targeted competitions, so yes we are looking forward to next season.”

Former Olympic finalist Jon Eley failed to progress beyond the semi-finals in either the 500m or 1000m and there was also disappointment after alongside Richard Shoebridge, Paul Stanley and Jack Whelbourne he narrowly failed to make the final of the 3000m relay.

But Horsepool - who still believes the relay is a realistic medal target in Sochi - remained upbeat with less than a year to go until the Games in Sochi.

“The boys did very well in the relay, they delivered their race plan and they were in second with two laps to go," he added, after they finished behind Russia and Holland with only the top two progressing.

"It’s frustrating for them, but this year is all about performance and they have delivered a great performance.

"The World Championships is about putting down markers for next year and everyone wants to impress going into an Olympic year, so skating has been very physical, which is why there have been a few tussles.

"We’ve narrowly missed out on some medals, but the performances have been excellent, they are in the mix and the team are proving that they belong here with the very best in the world."

© Sportsbeat 2013

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