Phil and Jess finish in 8th, gain Australia’s highest ever finish at a Winter Universiade

Day one of the World University Winter Games could not have started better for Australia with Phil Bellingham and Jessica Yeaton both finishing in 8th place in the skate sprint. This results surpasses Australia’s previous highest finish of 9th place by Esther Bottomley in Turkey 2011 and shows the form that both Phil and Jess are in as they head into the important part of the year.

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In the men’s time trial out of the field of 83 starters the aim of the three Australian’s racing was to finish in the top 30 and progress through tot he finals. Phil finished in 5th to progress easily whilst Callum was able to squeeze into 30th position and also progress. Jackson Bursill finished in 44th and although disappointed not to be in the top 30 was happy to finish 7.5% behind the winner and gain season high FIS points of 132.

In the rounds Phil was able to qualify through to the semi finals and record a finishing placing of 8th place at the end of the day. The highest ever finish by an Australian at World University Winter Games and the first time Phil has been in a semi final at this level of competition. Callum Watson did not make the semi however was able to move up five places by finishing third in his quarter final and finish in 25th overall.

In the female sprint time trail Jessica Yeaton qualified in 12th place whilst Anna Trnka finished in 35th. For Jessica the experience gained from racing the finals at US Nationals a few weeks ago paid off as she cruised through to the semi finals. Her semi-final was fast however Jess just missed out on the final but still managed to move her overall ranking up to 8th place. She now, along with Phil, holds Australia’s best finish at World University Winter Games.

Anna Trnka finished in 35th and although was somewhat disappointed not to make the finals she can take some solace that this was the third highest placing by a female in a World Uni Games sprint ever behind sprinting superstar Esther Bottomley and now Jessica Yeaton. Anna was also able to finish in front of her Kazakhstani nemesis who famously skied past Anna in the final stages of the last two World Junior Pursuits.

Full results are available on the FIS website. Tomorrow’s event is the mixed team sprint in which Phil and Jess will team up in Australia 1 whilst Jackson and Anna will team up in Australia 2.

 

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