World and Olympic champion speed skater Sven Kramer has thrown his weight behind efforts to keep the national speed skating stadium in Friesland, Nos television reports.
On Monday it emerged the Dutch skating association favours the development of a new stadium in Almere over refurbishment of the Thialf rink in Heerenveen.
‘Thialf must remain the skating Mecca,’ Kramer said using the microblogging service Twitter. ‘Friesland is skating and skating is Thialf.
The still confidential report, obtained by Nos, said both the skating union and national Olympic committee back the Almere Icedôme project above Thialf and a third tender from Zoetermeer.
A spokesman for Friesland province told local paper Friesch Dagblad the committee’s report is advisory and there is still one week before the final decision is published.
The province is prepared to invest €50m in renovating the Thialf stadium. It has been home to top level speed skating since 1986 but the facilities are now in need of renewal.