Friday 03 February 2023

Dutch dominate speed skating, take all four European titles

Title holders Antoinette Rijpma – de Jong and Patrick Roest. Photo: Vincent Jannink ANP

Dutch speed skaters took all four titles at the European championships in Hamar, Norway at the weekend, as well as two of the silver medals.

Defending champions Patrick Roest and Antoinette Rijpma-de Jong again won the allround golds, while Jutta Leerdam and Merijn Scheperkamp took gold in the sprint event. Leerdam too was defending her title.

Silver medals went to Femke Kok (sprint) and Henk Otterspeer (allround) while Marijke Groenwoud won bronze in the allround competition. In total, the Dutch took seven of the 12 medals up for grabs.

Allround involves racing 500, 3000, 1500 and 5000 metres (women) and 500, 5000, 1500 and 10,000 metres (men). The sprint event is made up of two races each over 500 metres and 1000 metres.

The championships may have produced a couple of interesting races, but the results show ‘just how thin the talent pool in Europe is’, broadcaster NOS said.

Patrick Roest and young Norwegian Sander Eitrem kept it exciting in the men’s allround title fight, and that excitement is ‘necessary’ given the Dutch dominance of the event, NOS said. The European title has only been won three times by a non Dutch national since 1993, and the world title five times.

The next world championships take place in Heerenveen from March 2-5.

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