Essent ISU Junior World Cup Speed Skating - Groningen (NED)
The third international World Cup series for Juniors concluded this weekend in the semi-covered ice rink of the Dutch town of Groningen. After opportunities to race in regional competitions in Calgary, Tomakomai or Zakopane, and later in Baselga di Piné or Milwaukee, where they could only earn half the normal points, the skaters were able to gather full points during the Junior World Championships in Seinäjoki, and now Groningen offered a final opportunity to gather more points. Those to be won in Groningen are worth 150% of the normal points.
In the 500m ladies, Yekaterina Aydova from Kazakhstan was clearly the strongest. She won most races, but lost during the Junior Worlds to Karolina Erbanová, who did not skate any of the other Junior World Cups, and to Hyun-Yung Kim (KOR). Aydova won again in Groningen and won the overall Cup with 420 points, while Kim was second with 350, and Doreen Lamb (GER) secured a third-place finish to end up overall third with 267 points. Aydova has been skating during all of the three years in the Junior World Cup with good results, and is the skater with the most victories, namely 12, after she also won the 1000m in Groningen. It was not enough for the overall win, as Lotte van Beek’s fourth place was enough to keep her in the lead. Van Beek took the victory with 250 points, Aydova finished in second place in the 1000m with 222 points, and Kim was third with 205, passing Kali Christ (CAN) with a second-place finish in Groningen
In the 1500m, Pien Keulstra, the Dutch runner-up at the Junior Worlds, was the fastest with 285 points. She was already in the lead in front of Van Beek and Christ, and kept Bo-Reum Kim (KOR) with 245 points behind her, in spite of Kim taking the win. But Kim’s win brought her from fifth to the second place overall. The bronze was for Kali Christ (CAN) with 225 points. It wasn’t much different in the 3000m. Keulstra also won the 3000m with 290 points, although it was Bo-Reum Kim who won the World Cup Final, two and a half seconds ahead of Keulstra, who had skated one more race in total. Bo-Reum Kim gathered 280 points and kept her second place in the ranking. Jessica Beckert, a younger sister of senior top skaters Stephanie and Patrick Beckert, reached third place with 155 points. Fifty-eight ladies skated in at least one Junior World Cup at this distance, but there were only 15 finishing the Groningen race. There were even as many as 63 skaters in total in the 500m in the season.
In the Team Pursuit, the Japanese ladies, who were second at the world championships, won for the first time in Groningen, bringing them the cup with 230 points. The Canadian ladies are second with 190 points, and the USA third with 165.
Korean skater Seong-Kyu Kim (KOR) won the 500m in Groningen and also overall with 450 points. He has won all his races this season, and his last victory brought him past Dutchman Koen Verweij as the skater with the most victories in the Junior World Cup, namely eight. His time of 36.25 was a junior track record in Groningen. Although in Groningen he shared the podium with Laurent Dubreuil (CAN) and Junya Miwa (JPN), the latter two missed a few races, and the steady number two over the season is Denis Koval (RUS). He gathered 218 points; Dubreuil managed to reach third overall with 205 points.
In the 1000m, Maurice Vriend (NED) kept his lead overall with 245 points, mainly thanks to one race more than Kim, who finished in front of him in a direct confrontation. Kim gathered 240 points and finished in silver position. Tommi Pulli (FIN) dropped just out of the Top 3 in spite of a third-place finish; the victory in the last race went to Håvard Holmefjord Lorentzen (NOR), who managed to reach 210 points, just like Pulli, but his one victory brought him ahead of the Finnish talent in the ranks and he took bronze. As in the ladies races, the 500m has the highest number of participants. Over the season there were 67 junior men in the 500.
In the 1500m, the absence of World Junior Champion Sverre Lunde Pedersen (NOR) and Bailin Li (CHN) gave Maurice Vriend the opportunity to win this distance, too. He won clearly in Groningen and gathered 275 points in total. Lorentzen’s second place was enough to bring him also to second place in the rankings. Frank Hermans (NED) took bronze in Groningen, but his team-mate Thomas Krol took fourth place and that was enough to make him the overall bronze winner with 215 points.
There was another medal for Vriend in the 3000m men. He finished in second both in the Groningen race and in the rankings, with 250 points, but it was Hermans who took the World Cup victory with 275, also taking the win in Groningen. Perhaps the absence of Pedersen and a poor race of Simen Spieler Nilsen helped. Anyway, another Norwegian, Kristian Reistad Fredriksen, performed well, skating a personal best of 3:59.05, finishing in third, both there and in the rankings.
Finally, the Team Pursuit, where the overall victory was decided after two races; the first one in Seinäjoki was for the Dutch team as the strong Norwegians had a fall, and they then finished in second. In Groningen, the Dutch team was stronger than the Norwegians, and they finished first and second again, so the victory was for the Netherlands with 250 points, Norway got 200 and the Japanese finished third with 175 points.
It has been a magnificent year, where many promising talents could be seen in the Junior World Cup and some of them even reached the senior World Championships and also performed well there.
For details of the Essent ISU World Cup, including complete results see http://www.isu.org .
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Name: Selina Vanier
Organization: International Skating Union
Phone: +41 21 612 66 66
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