Dutch relay teams win semifinal European Short Track Championships

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The Dutch men's and women's relay teams have won the semi finals at the European Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Heerenveen.

The women's team, Annita van Doorn, Jorien ter Mors, Yara van Kerkhof and Sanne van Kerkhof were the fastest in the 3000 metres relay. The men's team, Sjinkie Knegt, Niels Kerstholt, Freek van der Wart and Daan Breeuwsma, beat the other countries in the 5000 metre relay. The final is on Sunday.

Dutch skater Sjinkie Knegt has missed out on winning a medal in his second final at the Championships. He came fourth in the 500 metre race. On Friday he came second in the 1500 metres.

Frenchman Thibaut Fauconnet came first in both races. Brit Brit Jack Whelbourne was second in the 1.500 metres and Latvian skater Haralds Silovs finished third.

Thibaut leads the men's competition after two races way ahead of the other competitors with 68 points, Knegt holds second place. The individual competition continues on Sunday with the 1000 metre final.

In the women's competition Italian Martina Valcepina won the 500 metres. Fellow Italian Arianna Fontana, picked herself up literally after a fall in the 500 metres, and leads the overall competition after two races. Dutch skater Jorien ter Mors is in eighth position in the overall women's competition.

Although speed skating is very popular in the Netherlands, short track has never caught on. It's hoped that the championships in Heerenveen will help the sport become more popular.


© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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