Dutch sprint skater could win gold at World Championships

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At the World Sprint Speed Skating Championships at the Thialf stadium in Heerenveen, Stefan Groothuis is in the lead and the ladies from the Dutch Liga team are still in with a chance of winning an overall silver or bronze medal.

Stefan Groothuis of trainer Jac Orie's Control team is ahead in the overall competition after winning the 1000 metres and coming third in the 500 metres. Victory is uncertain, however, as he is just half a second in front of South Korean Lee Kyou-hyuk. Meanwhile American Shani Davis and Korean Mo Tae-bum are both hot on their heels. Anything could happen in Sunday's finals.

In the women's competition, gold seems to be in the bag for Canadian skater Christine Nesbitt. Second, third and fourth places in the 1000 metres went to the ladies of the Dutch Liga team. The Canadian beat Dutch speed skater Ireen Wüst by one and a half seconds, breaking Anni Friesinger's lap record of 2007.

Annette Gerritsen came in third, putting her in third place overall behind German skater Jenny Wolf, and Laurine van Riessen finished fourth. Even Margot Boer, who came in eighth in the 1000 metres, could still make it onto the podium as overall she is tenths of a second behind Gerritsen. Ireen Wüst is in seventh place overall after a disappointing showing in the 500 metres.

Three times Olympic Champion Marianne Timmer has said farewell to her speed skating career at the Thialf Stadium. She has been made honorary member of the Dutch skating association, the KNSB. Her successful career came to an end suddenly at the Dutch National Championships in December, after she realised she had not got back into form following an injury shortly before last year’s Winter Olympics.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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