Van der Poel breaks men’s 10,000m world record at speed skating world championships


THE HAGUE, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) — Fresh from winning Sweden’s first world title in the men’s 5,000m on Thursday, Nils van der Poel continued to make history with a world record-breaking performance in the 10,000m at the ISU World Single Distance Speed Skating Championships in Heerenveen, the Netherlands on Sunday.

The 24-year-old clocked 12 minutes, 32.95 seconds for gold at sea-level Thiaf, slicing 0.91 seconds off the previous world record set by Canadian Graeme Fish at the 2019 world championships in high-altitude Salt Lake City, the United States.

“Fish for dinner,” he shouted into a TV camera positioned beside the track after becoming the first skater since 2007 to set a world record at a sea-level stadium.

However, van der Poel confessed that he wasn’t surprised by the result.

“We have trained for this for 20 months. We did training sessions in the past weeks and looking at the statistics of these sessions we concluded that the world record was in reach this weekend,” he said.

Jorrit Bergsma of the Netherlands took silver in 12:45.86 while Aleksandr Rumyantsev from the Russian Skating Union won bronze, his first world individual title, in 12:54.74.

“I’m 34 years old. I guess it would be great to finish my career with an Olympic medal next year,” the Russian veteran said of Beijing 2022.

In the women’s 1,500m race, Ragne Wiklund also made history to become the second Norwegian female speed skating world champion and the first since 1938.

The 20-year-old had a personal best of 1:54.613 to edge World Cup winner Brittany Bowe of the United States by 0.42 second. Evgeniia Lalenkova of the Russian Skating Union bagged a bronze.

“I don’t think I kind of realize it yet,” Wiklund said. “When I was on the infield, everyone started crying and I couldn’t take it in myself.”

Despite having to settle for a silver, Bowe offered her compliments and congratulations to the young Norwegian skater.

“She completely deserved that well-earned victory. To be a world champion at 20 years old, that’s awesome,” she said.

Elsewhere on Sunday, 2019 world champion Thomas Krol bounced back from his disqualification for two false starts in 1,000m, adding another world title to his name in 1:43.752.

Defending champion Kjeld Nuis was 0.35 second behind and Patrick Roest came third to complete a medal sweep for the Netherlands.

Their compatriot Irene Schouten compensated for a bronze in her specialized mass start with a 5,000m gold, clocking 6:48.537 for the gold. Natalia Voronina of the Russian Skating Union and Dutch Carlijn Achtereekte finished second and third.

The World Single Distance Speed Skating Championships is the last event for speed skating on the ISU calendar in a condensed 2020-21 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Enditem


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