Irene Schouten has won the first Dutch gold medal of the Winter Olympics, taking the 3000 metre title 1.13 seconds ahead of Italy’s Francesca Lollobrigida. The bronze went to Isabelle Weidemann of Canada.
Dutch defending champion Carlijn Achtereekte finished seventh and world champion Antoinette de Jong was a disappointing eighth.
Sports data bureau Nielsen Gracenote forecasts Dutch skaters will bring home eight gold medals from Beijing, with short track star Suzanne Schulting, long-distance specialist Schouten and sprinter Thomas Krol seen as the best prospects.
Schulting is in action later on Saturday in the heats for the 500 metres and the mixed relay.
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