Canada’s Kristina Groves Wins Bronze Medal at World Speed Skating Championships

NAGANO, Japan – Kristina Groves of Ottawa repeated as the bronze medallist in the women’s 1,500 metres on Thursday to open the world single distance long track speed skating championships.

Anni Friesinger of Germany won the world title at the distance for the fifth time in her career clocking one minute and 56.56 seconds. Paulien Van Deutekom of the Netherlands was second in 1:57.36 and Groves took third spot in 1:57.63. She was also third at last year’s worlds and now has six career medals overall at these championships.

‘’It was a really good race for me, I’m happy with how I skated,’’ said Groves, 31, in her 11th season on the national team. ‘’The ice conditions were challenging for everybody here so you really needed to have a solid race to do well.’’

Groves was in the final pair of the day with defending champion Ireen Wust of the Netherlands. Wust clocked the seventh fastest time.

‘’I was paired with Wust earlier this season and I worried about her too much in that

race,’’ said Groves, who competes in five events this week. ‘’This time I just wanted to focus on my own race and I did that well. My opening 200 metres was very strong and I was able to carry that speed right through.’’

Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., was fifth and Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg sixth.

In the men’s 5,000, Sven Kramer of the Netherlands successfully defended his title clocking 6:17.24. Enrico Fabris of Italy was second in 6:20.22 and Wouter Olde Heuvel of the Netherlands third in 6:24.05.

Arne Dankers of Calgary took fifth spot in 6:31.76. Justin Warsylewicz of Regina was 12th and Steven Elm of Red Deer, Alta., 13th. It was the third straight worlds that Dankers collected a top-six finish. He was sixth in 2005 and fourth last year.

Competition continues Friday featuring Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., in the men’s 500 and Groves and Clara Hughes of Glen Sutton, Que., in the women’s 3,000.