HVHS Speed Skater Off To The World Championships

Hadley Beech has the need for speed.

The year 12 Hutt Valley High School student is heading to the Netherlands for the 2018 Inline Speed Skating World Championships which start on 1 July.

Hadley will be competing both on the track and on the road. The track is a 200m slightly banked velodrome – as opposed to a cycling track velodrome which is a 250mtrack and more steeply banked.

The distances range from 100m to full marathons (42.2km). “I am more of a sprinter but I don’t do too badly in distance, because I ca keep in there and I am able to have a strong finish, Hadley says” The sprint distances are 100m, 500m, 1km.

How fast does he go? “There is also a 300m time trial on the track – which is not at the World Championships – and my PB in that distance is 27.8s.”

As a comparison Usain Bolt’s 100m sprinting world record is 9.58s.

What about injuries?

“It definitely hurts when you fall over! I haven’t personally had too many bad ones, no broken bones, but there have been a lot of grazes, cuts and scratches.”

That’s good going, considering his training venue. “I train in the Mitre 10 carpark in Petone [after hours], under lights and its quite dangerous.”

“We don’t really have good facilities here in the Hutt; there are tracks around New Zealand but none locally.”

He competes for the Valley Incline Speed Skating club in Upper Hutt, and started when he was eight. “I got into it through my auntie who used to do artistic skating, and after a year of doing that my coach said all he wants to do is go fast so I started incline speed skating.” His younger sister, who is year 9 at Hutt Valley High School also competes.

Hadley has been racing competitively for several years, and in a few weeks he will be part of a 10-strong New Zealand team, which includes four junior boys (U18).

This won’t be Hadley’s first time representing New Zealand. “I have represented New Zealand at the Oceania Championships twice, in Brisbane and Timaru.”

The Oceania Championships in Timaru were over Easter, with Hadley winning two silvers in the 500m and 1km races.

All going well, the upcoming World Championships might not be his only trip overseas this year. “Later this year there is the Youth Olympics

in Bruenos Aires in October, so there is qualification for that too.”

This is the first time the sport is at the Youth Olympics and if successful could be a stepping stone to becoming a full Olympic sport one day.

Who are the strong incline speed skating countries? “It is a lot bigger in Europe, in countries like Italy, Germany and France, and also Columbia.”

Hadley’s coach is Antony Nalder, a former road cyclist.

Hadley’s other sport is football, but he has not playing this year to concentrate on training and competing in speed skating. He is travelling to the Netherlands two weeks early to train and prepare.