Canada’s Mike Ireland wins gold at speed skating World Cup

Long track speed skater Mike Ireland of Winnipeg earned his first career World Cup win in the 500 metres on Saturday while Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., took the bronze.

Ireland clocked 35.28 seconds for his fourth career World Cup win overall and his first in two years. All three previous gold were in the 1,000.

“I had a very good race, I don’t remember making any mistakes,” said Ireland, who has seven top-five finishes in nine World Cup races this season. “The big difference today was that I had a clean opener that was fast plus I still had the good lap. It’s nice to finally win in the 500 because I’ve been close so many times.”

Fengtong Yu of China was second in 35.35 and Wotherspoon, seeking his 50th career World Cup victory, was third in 35.94. Wotherspoon still leads the World Cup 500 standings having won the first four races this season while Ireland is fourth.

“Most of the race was pretty solid,” said Wotherspoon. “But I was slow off the start and I think that’s what hurt me. You have less speed going into the lap and that affects your whole race. Other than that I was happy with it.”

Erben Wennemars of the Netherlands, crowned the world sprint champion last weekend, remained undefeated this season in the 1,000 with the win while Wotherspoon was fifth and Ireland seventh.

In women’s competition, Chinese skaters finished 1-2 in the women’s 500 with Manli Wang first in 38.76 and Hui Ren second in 38.87. World sprint champion Marianne Timmer of the Netherlands took the 1,000 in 1:17.71.

National team rookie Kerry Simpson of Melville, Sask., posted the best international result of her career placing eighth in the 1,000 in 1:19.41.

“I raced early on and I wasn’t sure my time would hold up so well,” said Simpson, 22, a 1,500-metre specialist. “But the whole race felt very good. Being with the sprint team and their coaches this week, I’ve had an opportunity to work on starts and the different techniques they use.”

Competition ends Sunday.

Saturday’s results at a World Cup long track speed skating competition at Harbin, China (all distances in metres):


MEN


500


1. Mike Ireland, Winnipeg, 35.28

2. Fengtong Yu, China, 35.35

3. Jeremy Wotherspoon, Red Deer, Alta., 35.49

4. Kip Carpenter, U.S., 35.67

5. Dmitry Lobkov, Russia, 35.68

6. Gerard van Velde, Netherlands, 35.75

7. Jannne Haninnen, Finland, 35.86

8. Erben Wennemars, Netherlands, 35.87

9. Masaaki Kobayashi, 35.95

10. Hiroyasu Shimizu, Japan, 35.96


Other Canadian


20. James Monson, Calgary, 36.84



Group B


8. Mark Nielsen, Calgary, 36.66

9. Jean-René Bélanger, Sherbrooke, Que., 36.90



1,000


1. Wennemars, 1:10.09

2. van Velde, 1:10.39

3. Carpenter, 1:10.60

4. Beorn Nijenhuis, Netherlands, 1:10.87

5. Wotherspoon, 1:10.93

6. Hanninen, 1:11.01

7. Ireland, 1:11.39

8. Aleksandr Kibalko, Russia and Dmitry Lobkov, Russia, 1:11.58

10. Alexander Oltrop, Netherlands, 1:11.61


Group B


6. Bélanger, 1:13.70

11. Monson, 1:14.43

12. Nielsen, 1:14.95



WOMEN


500


1. Manli Wang, China, 38.76

2. Hui Ren, China, 38.87

3. Marianne Timmer, Netherlands, 39.09

4. Monique Garbrecht-Enfeldt, Germany, 39.34

5. Frouke Oonk, Netherlands, 39.46

6. Yukari Watanabe, Japan, 39.48

7. Jenny Wolf, Germany, 39.52

8. Aki Tonoike, Japan, 39.59

9. Pamela Zoelnner, Germany, 39.64

10. Andrea Nuyt, Netherlands, 39.66


Canadians


20. Kerry Simpson, Melville, Sask., 40.33

23. Krisy Myers, Lloydminster, Sask., 40.55

25. Kim Weger, Regina, 40.93

26. Danielle Wotherspoon, Red Deer, 41.96


1,000


1. Timmer, 1:17.71

2. Wang, 1:18.40

3. Garbrecht-Enfeldt, 1:18.54

4. Ren, 1:18.82

5. Chiara Simionato, Italy, 1:18.90

6. Zoelnner, 1:19.17

7. Tonoike, 1:19.38

8. Simpson, 1:19.41

9. Nuyt, 1:19.58

10. Sabine Volker, Germany, 1:19.71


Other Canadians


20. Myers, 1:21.98

21. Weger, 1:22.86

24. Wotherspoon, 1:25.21