International silver for Upton on first attempt

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CLARE UPTON celebrated her silver-medal finish in the World Masters International Short Track Games by revealing: That was the best I have ever skated.

The 52-year-old, who races out of ELSSA Go-Sport, at Planet Ice, Gosport, took part in her debut international competition last month.

In the 50-54-year-old category, Upton finished second place in Sheffield over 1000m.

The result came on the back of her winning three medals in the British Long Track Championships in Holland earlier this year.

Going into the World Masters, Upton, who suffers from arthritis, was just pleased to be competing against some of the best speed skaters in the world.

But after a good first day, she was full of confidence and thrived under the pressure.

Upton said: ‘It was scary when I was going into it. I had never competed in a world competition before.

‘At the end of day one, I was aiming to be in fourth place. But I was in third and knew who I had to beat to win silver.

‘It was definitely the best I have ever skated on the second day.

‘The ice was really fresh and I just had a real motivation.

‘I’m not usually known for being really aggressive on the ice.

‘I don’t usually get emotional, but I did both of those things.

‘I knew I had to stay on my feet and give it my best.’

Having skated since she was aged 17, Upton has recently begun competing over trips that are more of a stamina test instead of speed.

The first British Long Track Championships were held on an artificial rink in Holland in March.

Upton won bronze in the 500m and 20,000m categories respectively, and took silver in the 5000m event.

She’s also recently been taking her long track coaching badges.

Her pupil, 10-year-old Tom Smith, won bronze in Holland.

Upton added: ‘It was something I have always wanted to try.

‘When I was in Holland in 2015, I thought I’d have a go at it.

‘Since then, I’ve done my coaching, as well.

‘With my times I registered at the British championships, it means I’ve qualified next year for the World Championships Masters.

‘It’s really filling up my bucket list.

‘I’m enjoying it, taking it in my stride and taking more coaching levels.

‘Eventually, we’ll have a 400m track here in the south and we will already have the coaches.

‘Holland was Tom’s first-ever attempt in a competition and he done great.

‘He’s a bit like Eddie The Eagle.

‘He wants to go to the Olympics in the future, whether that is short track or long.’