SPEED skater Farrell Treacy knows a Beijing battle with brother Niall couldn’t go much worse than the last time they clashed on ice – literally.
The Treacy brothers, from Henley-in-Arden, will form two-thirds of Team GB’s short track squad at next week’s Winter Olympic Games.
Farrell, 26, and Niall, 21, racked up valuable World Cup ranking points in Japan, China, Hungary and Netherlands this season to book their place on the plane to the Chinese capital.
The pair compete both against and alongside each other in the individual and relay events – a concoction that went pear-shaped in Nagoya, Japan when Niall inadvertently clattered into his brother in the relay ranking final.
Farrell is praying for better luck in the Chinese capital and ahead of taking to the ice in his 1000m heats on February 7, said: “In short-track speed skating, team skating can be a big factor.
“But the last time we raced together in the ranking final in Japan, he wiped me out. So we’ll see how we go this time!
“He hit a block and went down and took me out – so, it didn’t work out from the point of view where we were trying to get as many ranking points as we could. Luckily we did it in Hungary to both qualify.
“The way the draw is done, they normally keep countries apart so it would only be if we get to finals or semi-finals that we could meet. If we’re there, that would be a fantastic achievement and would be incredible.
“My mum has always said that she doesn’t like watching any of us race, but definitely when we’re racing together, it’s only a recent thing, she doesn’t like it at all.
“It’s an incredible achievement for the whole family, we’re really excited about it. It’s going to be special seeing two Treacys on the start list.”
Farrell flew the Team GB flag in PyeongChang four years ago where he competed in the 1000m and 1500m events – the same two he will be focussing on in Beijing.
Kathryn Thomson, who also appeared at those Games in South Korea, represents the final member of the British squad as Team GB aim to better the five medals won across all sports four years ago.
But short track speed skating has never been a happy hunting ground for British athletes at the Games, with three-time world champion and medal hopeful Elise Christie suffering a string of disqualifications and crashes at the two previous editions.
Farrell reached the B-final of the Hungary World Cup this season and reckons his impressive recent form has hardened him for the heat of the Beijing battle.
His journey to the Games has been fuelled by a £20,000 injection of funding to short track speed skating via UK Sport’s Beijing Support Fund.
Farrell added: “Before PyeongChang I’d only had one full season on the senior circuit, whereas now I feel like I’ve got a lot of experience on the senior circuit.
“I know what to expect from a logistical point of view and how much bigger it is going to be. Those little things are going to be comfortable for me and I can focus on my skating.
“I’ve become more confident. Before I was confident in my tactics but maybe not in delivering the actual results – but now I’m very confident I can do a lot more from an overtaking perspective. Waiting for the last lap is not an issue for me.
“I’m always confident that I can make the move at the end – it frees up a lot of tactics for me.
“The unpredictability, going in as a short-track speed skater, it would be stupid to go in thinking there is no chance of getting through.”
UK Sport has an ambition to become an ever-greater force in winter sport. The Beijing Support Fund, which utilises Government and National Lottery investment, demonstrates UK Sport’s commitment to a wider group of sports, athletes and teams in the high-performance community as part of its mission to create the greatest decade of extraordinary sporting moments; reaching, inspiring and uniting the nation.
For more information visit www.uksport.gov.uk