Christie eases through heats

Hampshire Chronicle: Elise Christie won her 1000 metres heat with ease Elise Christie won her 1000 metres heat with ease

Short track speed skater Elise Christie qualified in trouble-free and impressive style from her 1000 metres heat at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The 23-year-old has had a difficult time in Russia, starting with disqualification in the final of the 500m last week for crashing into Italy's Arianna Fontana.

Then, in her 1500m heat, she was judged to have failed to finish the race for crossing inside the finish line, despite being involved in an apparent photo-finish.

However, the European 1000m champion, racing at the Iceberg Skating Palace in heat seven on Tuesday, where two of four progressed to the quarter-finals, took no chances of suffering another mishap.

Christie showed why the distance is her favourite, staying at the back for the first few laps before making her run to the front - staying well away from any of her opponents - before leaving the rest in her wake to win with ease.

Christie was also subject to some abuse on Twitter which caused her to come off social network sites, but the Scot stressed how the support she has had from people back home brought the smile back to her face when she was at her lowest ebb.

She said: "Obviously I spent a few days feeling quite down and struggling psychologically.

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

Asked if she had seriously considered pulling out, Christie said: "I did after the 1500. I thought, 'I don't want to do this' but I would never pull out really because I always have that grit in me that keeps me carrying on.

"But I was feeling pretty low, the lowest I have felt in my career."

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