Whelbourne crashes out of final

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Jack Whelbourne was sent spinning to the surface in the final Jack Whelbourne was sent spinning to the surface in the final

Jack Whelbourne's hopes of a Winter Olympic medal ended in misery when the Briton crashed out of the 1500 metres short track final in Sochi.

The 22-year-old from Nottingham had qualified from his semi-final in second spot with a thrilling performance and deservedly took his place among the sport's elite looking to bag Team GB's second medal of the Games.

Amid a deafening din in the Iceberg Skating Palace, Whelbourne pulled out all the stops but could not get to the front.

And as the race hotted up he was sent spinning to the surface as Canada's Charles Hamelin, who had won Whelbourne's semi-final, took gold.

Whelbourne was quickest in the heats with a time of two minutes 14.091 seconds at the Iceberg Skating Arena, and then followed it up with another impressive showing in the semi-finals to go through to the showpiece as second fastest.

The Briton first took to the ice in the heats alongside Holland's Sjinkie Knegt - who was disqualified at the European Championships in Dresden last month for an obscene gesture aimed at Russia's Victor An after losing the men's 5000m relay - in a six-man contest.

Whelbourne made his move late in the race and held on against Italy's Yuri Confortola and Knegt, with the trio progressing to the next stage.

The Briton then appeared again in the third of three semis, from which only the first two qualified, and battled through to the final in dramatic fashion.

Whelbourne was placed in the inside lane and initially led from the front, and although he was soon overtaken, he fought back into second place.

In front of an increasingly excited crowd inside a packed arena, Whelbourne did enough to stay behind Hamelin and give himself a medal chance later on.

His challenge in the final was ended, however, when he skidded out with three laps to go, appearing to hurt his ankle in the process.

Whelbourne, who will be assessed ahead of the men's 1000m on Thursday, said: "Unfortunately a block got under my foot and I toed in, which has given me a twisted ankle but we don't know how it is.

"It can be quite common in the sport. The block move, we have seven and up to eight people racing with tight-knit overtakes, so it happens quite a lot and this time it happened to me, unfortunately, when I was in my best form.

"I am really pleased with my performance today."

He added: "I was hoping to do a little better than I did, but I got a British record in the first race and I managed to get a win under my belt.

"If I keep on skating like that then there is no reason I can't do the same in the other two distances I am skating in.

"So I am really happy with the way it is going. If anything I surprised myself, but I have to keep a level head."

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