National Champion performs at World Cup 3 in Kazakhstan
After two years off the ice, speed skater Josh Kah is back in form and moving into possible Olympic contention after recent results representing New Zealand at the World Cup 3 meet in Kazakhstan on 13 and 14 December.
Competing in the 500m short course event, Josh came painstakingly close to a new personal best with a time just 0.3 seconds short of his previous record. Finishing 34th in the elite field was the early result the National Speed Skating champion was looking for, with this competition marking his first World Cup event in almost 4 years.
“Right now, I am so glad to be back competing and am focussed on the upcoming tour. My long-term goal is definitely qualification for the 2026 Milano Cortina Winter Olympics. Now we are past the lockdowns, my strategy is to build a training regime centred around greater time on the ice”
Although recent results have allowed Josh to position himself well to break into the top 32 skaters worldwide (the threshold for Olympic qualification), Josh’s journey to the ISU World Cup has been turbulent. After Australia’s national speed skating training program was suspended indefinitely amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the 22-year-old chose to utilise his dual citizenship and represent New Zealand at future international events.
Crediting the markedly welcoming attitude of the New Zealand national skating program for helping him compete in Kazakhstan, the skater conceded there was some tension walking away from the Australian skating scene. However, with a New Zealand racer taking out the Australian Open Short Track Championships earlier this year and fellow New Zealander Peter Michael securing a silver medal at World Cup 3, Josh is confident his Trans-Tasman move will help propel both his own personal racing and the success of an increasingly strong national squad.
“The last few years have been an interesting challenge … but I’m especially excited by the potential for a New Zealand relay. My addition to the team means we have four international level athletes now, and I think we might surprise a few other countries in our debut at a future World Cup”.
Josh recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science and is looking forward to getting back to campus in 2023, where he is starting a Masters of Mechatronics. Josh credits his ability to balance study with training and competition to the support he receives through the Elite Athletic Program (EAP) run through Melbourne University Sport, along with his time training with Melbourne University Athletics Club.
"It is amazing the overlap between sprinting and speed skating. A consistent weightlifting and track work routine keeps me physically primed for competition while I am away from the ice.”