sport

Christie coasts through

Speed skater Elise Christie made the perfect start to the short-track 1000m event as she powered into the quarter-finals with an emphatic victory in her heat.

It has been a difficult few days for the Briton following two penalties in her last two races in the 500m and 1500m.

That left the 1000m, her favoured distance, as her only remaining hope of an Olympic medal.

Going in heat seven, Christie made absolutely sure to avoid any further trouble as she hung back early on in the race before making a move with three laps to go.

The Scot then stormed to the front leaving her competitors in her wake as she finished in 1:30.588, half a lap clear of Poland's Patrycja Maliszewska in second.

Christie now has until Friday to prepare for the latter stages of the competition where she could race three times in little over an hour should she progress to the final.

If the challenge she faces to collect a medal wasn't already clear though, it was made abundantly so as Val?e Maltais of Canada put down a marker in setting an Olympic record to win her heat.

"I spent a few days feeling quite down and struggling psychologically," Christie said. "I came here to train yesterday and found that really difficult. It was quite emotional.

"I was then told about all the good support back home and that really boosted

me. I have not seen a lot of them (messages) as I am not on social media, but people have read them out to me and they have been backing me.

"I smiled for the first time in a while when I heard that, so I can't get across how thankful I am because I was considering not getting back on (the ice), and the support I have had is what has pushed me to get back on.

"Today I felt on, I felt ready to go and really confident, and I just wanted to make everyone who supported me really proud."

There was also success for Jon Eley as he progressed from his heat in the men's 500m in second place behind home favourite Victor An. However, there was no such luck for Jack Whelbourne as he exited the competition after finishing fourth in his heat.

"I've been waiting for a while to get out there after Thursday's performance (in the 1000m)," Eley said. "I didn't quite get it right for the 1000m but I did today

"It was a good start, I tucked in behind the Russian and I'm very pleased to come through in second. Come Friday I will be tuned into the same performance, it couldn't have gone any better for me."