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Gilmartin aiming for Winter Games
5:00pm Saturday 21st September 2013 in Sport
REDDITCH speed skating ace Charlotte Gilmartin is aiming to build on a breakthrough year by securing her place at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The 23-year-old can book her spot on the plane for Sochi as part of Team GB if she performs to her best at the qualifying World Cup events in Italy and Russia in November.
The former Arrow Valley School student missed out on the world’s biggest stage in 2010 after just being edged out for selection for the Games in Vancouver.
But Nottingham-based blade runner has since grown into one of the country’s best speed skaters.
She had already won a gold medal in 2008 at the European Championships as part of the British 3,000m relay squad.
But her big breakthrough came at this year’s Euros when she earned a bronze in the 1,500m in Malmo.
Sixth and seven place finishes in the final rounds of the World Cup series at the end of last year also established Gilmartin’s position as a genuine medal contender.
“The last year was huge for me,” Gilmartin said.
“The performances in the World Cup and the European Championships were my breakthrough.
“I really want to build on that and book my place for Sochi.
“The last time there were only two places and I was third in the country so it was devastating to miss out.
“But I am in good shape and looking forward to the World Cup.”
Gilmartin has been selected for GB’s nine-strong squad after the open trials, where she finished second behind European Champion and British and world number one Elise Christie.
The World Cup Short Track series starts at the end of this month in Shanghai and then moves to Seoul for the second round in October.
But the events in Torino, Italy and Kolomna, Russia, will determine which athletes will be part of the five strong women’s squad are going to the 2014 Games.
Gilmartin competes domestically for the Solihull Mohawks, is based in Nottingham but spends weekends with the her family in Winyates.
The speed demon, who competes in the 500m and 1,500m distances, was discovered at a skating party and by the age of 15 began representing Great Britain at the junior level and has progressed through the ranks to compete as a senior on the world stage.
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