Timmer, Wennemars take Dutch skating titles

Speed skater Marianne Timmer took her ninth Dutch national sprint title on Sunday despite falling just metres from the finish in the second 1,000 metre race.

Timmer glided over the line in a spectacular end to the race, managing to stay just ahead of Annette Gerritsen, who finished second. ‘Being champion is great every time,’ said Timmer who has held the title for all but two of the last 11 years.
The men’s title went to Erben Wennemars for the third time, after a nail-biting finish in the second 1,000 metres race against Jan Bos. There was just 0.03 of a second separating the two men. ‘This was the best sprint championship I have ever taken part in,’ said Wennemars after the event. ‘It has never been so exciting.’
The competition involves skaters competing in two 500 metre and two 1,000 metre races. The sprint titles are important in determining who will represent the Netherlands at the world speed skating championships in Hamar, Norway later this month.
‘Competition is so intense, particularly in the Netherlands,’ said Gerard van Velde who was fourth on Sunday and now sure of his place in Norway. It will be his fifth world championship in the sprint event.

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