McKay sets new PB in Liberec
Figure skater Natasha McKay set the tone for Great Britain on day one of the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival, racking up a new personal best in Liberec, Czech Republic.
The 16-year-old left the opening ceremony celebrations in Liberec early to concentrate on her competition after drawing third in the ladies short programme, and it turned out to be a good decision.
McKay scored a new best 31.42 points and sits 22nd out of 30 skaters after the short programme and is well on her way to better her current overall personal best of 91.51 points.
Leading the competition is Russia’s Polina Agafonova with 57.80 with Belarus’ Ira Vannut almost five points behind in second and Leanaelle Gilleron-Gory from France currently in bronze medal position.
But McKay is hot on the heels of those in front of her as she heads to Wednesday’s free skate full of confidence, believing it to be the strongest part of her skating.
“My skate went really well,” she said. “It's a personal best in the short programme so I'm really pleased.
“I went out third which was great because I could just focus on my own skate and not get distracted by what else is going on so it worked out in my favour.
“I am feeling really confident going into that now off the back of this and hopefully I can set another personal best – that would be brilliant.
“I think my free programme is actually better than my short programme anyway so hopefully I'll be able to do just that and will be keeping my fingers crossed.”
Also taking to the Svijanska Arena ice was Jamie Whiteman who got going his competition underway with a solid short programme.
Five more Team GB athletes were in action on the first day of competition with the majority of action coming down at the cross-country event.
Katy Hoymer was first to go and she completed her 7.5km individual classic race in 32:03.8 minutes, finishing 65th out of 74 athletes and 7:34.1 minutes behind first place.
Gold, the first of the Games, was won by Sweden’s Sofia Henriksson in 24:29.7, 27.4 seconds ahead of Norway’s Thea Krokan Murud in second with fellow Norwegian Hilde Losgard Landheim collecting bronze.
There were two GB athletes in the boys’ 10km race as Ruaridh Newman and Michael May finished 79th and 73rd respectively and are both hoping for better luck in tomorrow’s 1km sprint race.
And completing the set for the day were Natalie Beattie and Emily Evans over at the girls’ giant slalom event.
Beattie finished in 23rd with 1:49.70 minutes for her two runs while Evans found herself in 37th – although she insists she now knows what is required for a higher placing at Wednesday’s slalom.
“I’m not too happy with my giant slalom skiing but bad days happen and it has still been a good experience and I am eager to improve for the rest of the competition,” Evans said.
“We have the slalom event still to come and I want to do better there and I know what I have to do and that is to be more aggressive.
“I definitely need to be more aggressive later when I compete in the slalom and attack the course a lot more and if I do that I am sure I will do better.”