Great results at World Championships in Korea - News


In the pre-olympic season the most important event took place in Korean Gangneung, the city where in one year the olympic titles are to be won. And the KIA-skaters did well in the World Championship single distance.

Silver on 500 meters Nico Ihle
Nico Ihle was one of the favorites for medals on the sprint distances, and he proved all of the predictions right. Ihle must have been the most satisfied himself with his performance on the 500 meters, where he claimed the silver medal. In the sixth pairing Ihler raced to a glorious time of 34,66, which for a while appeared to be the winning time. But two races later Jan Smeekens was a little faster (34,58), and Ihle even had to wait of his time was enough for the podium. But in the last four pairings nobody was faster then the German skater, who won the silver.

On the 1000 meters Ihle ended up with the most hated classification: fourth place. He finished in 1.08,89, which was already the fourth time at that moment.

Vincent De Haitre surprises with silver
Vincent De Haitre surprises every time again. The only 22-year old Canadian did that this season and did it again in Gangneung. His best performance was on the 1000 meters, where he was the fastest man behind untouchable Kjeld Nuis. De Haitre saw Nuis race towards a very fast 1.08,26, but carried out a brave attempt to attack that time. De Haitre won the direct battle with Nico Ihle, but with 1.08,54 he was still almost three tenth behind Nuis. Nevertheless nobody beat the time of tha Canadian, so the silver medal was his.

On the 1500 meters De Haitre was close to the podium, but had to settle for fourth place. With 1.45,79 he was just behind bronze winner Sven Kramer.

Sensational silver Claudia Pechstein
She is the 'grand old lady' of speed skating, but that doesn't mean Claudia Pechstein competes for show. On the contrary. In Gangneung Pechstein showed that even on the age of 44 you still can compete on the highest level. And more. The German secured a sensational silver medal on the 5k. Pechstein raced very impressive to 6.53,93 and with that time she beat al the young talents behind her. The gap to Ivanie Blondin was almost three seconds, and that said enough. As expected only Martina Sablikova was faster, but to Pechstein the silver must have felt like gold. With the fingers across her lips she silenced all her critics.

Bronze Ivanie Blondin on 5k
Ivanie Blondin pushed her limits in Gangneung. The 26-year old Canadian has won medals sofar only on the mass-start, her specialty. But in Korea she won a medal on a single distance for the first time in her career. She took the bronze on the 5k.

The fact that Blondin had to see Sablikova in front of her was not surprising. The second place of Pechstein was. But on the other hand Blondin herself resisted the Dutch competition and only just held off Russian Anna Yurakova. Blondin raced to 6.57,14 where Yurakova clocked 6.57,27.

Just as surprising as her bronze medal on the 5k was the fact Blondin did not win a medal on the mass-start. That hasn't happened to her since the event was introduced in 2015.

Norwegian bronze on teampursuit
Norwegian speed skating is back alive. The Scandinavians are working on a comeback after several not so good years. In Korea the men did well on the teampursuit.

The four Sindre Henriksen, Simen Spieler Nilsen, Sverre Lunde Pedersen and Havard Holmefjord Lorentzen did very well in a breathtaking battle for the title. The difference between number one Holland (3.40,66) and number four Canada (3.41,68) was only 1,02 second. The Norwegians only just held off the Canadians with their time of 3.41,60. New-Zealand (3.41,08) was the very surprising number two.

Great bronze medal Patrick Beckert
Patrick Beckert once again confirmed his reputation as a world class stayer. The 26-year old German did that on a 10k which will go down in history as the battle of the titans between Sven Kramer and Jorrit Bergsma.

Beckert raced against Kramer. He saw the gap with the Dutchman grow with every lap, but persisted in his own schedule. That proved to be the right thing. Beckert finished in 12.52,76 and took second place with that. With just Bergsma and fellow countryman Moritz Geisreiter to go, his chances on a medal were big. And that was the way it went. Bergsma beat his time, Geisreiter did not. With that Beckert ended up with a shiny bronze medal.

A little earlier in the tournament Beckert had to settle for 7th place on the 5k. He set his time on that distance on 6.16,52.

Nils van der Poel strong on 10k
The tournament of the 10k brought a lot of fireworks. Many riders were pushed to their limits in the race for the world title. Nils van der Poel (20) did not reach his personal best, but the young Swede did an excellent job in the strong field. He raced towards 13.14,84 and with that time he ended on position eight among the best stayers of the world.

Records for Marina Zueva
Marina Zueva can look back on a good tournament. The 24-year old even broke two national records for Belarus. On the 3k her time of 3.06,24 was enough to put a new time in the books. She ended up on 14th place with that. On the 5k Zueva also did well. In the final classification her name was on place ten, and the time of 7.03,40 also meant a new national record for Belarus.

Zueva also participated in the mass-start. She won one of the sprints and five points brought her to the sixth place in the field.

Good performances on mass-start
KIA-skaters did generally well on the mass-start. In the women's field two spots behind Marina Zueva there was Danish Elena Moeller Rigas on place eight, with a total of three points.

In the men's field Vitaly Mikhailov from Belarus did very well. He was in the right breakaway, but lost the sprint for third place to Canadian Olivier Jean. Armin Hager from Austria collected eight points along the way and those helped him to the fifth place.

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