Cindy Klassen third overall at world sprint championships

Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg won the bronze medal in the women’s 1,000-metre finale on Sunday to place third overall at the world sprint championships in long track speed skating. Denny Morrison of Fort St. John., B.C., was also third in the men’s 1,000.

Anni Friesinger of Germany took the women’s overall title with 151.935 points sweeping both 1,000-metre races on the weekend and placing fifth in both 500’s. The event is decided by two 500-metre races and two 1,000-metre races.

Ireen Wust of the Netherlands, second in both 1,000s, was second overall at 152.995 and Klassen followed at 153.370. Klassen was third in both 1,000’s and eighth in the 500 Sunday which was eight spots better than on Saturday.

This was Klassen’s first international competition this season. The five-time medallist from last year’s Winter Olympics returned to racing just three weeks ago at the national championships after focusing on training during the fall after a busy off-season.

“My improvement in the 500 today really helped me climb up a bit in the overall standings,” said Klassen, who was fourth overall after Saturday’s races. “In the 1,000, the start was good, the first lap was good then I had a tougher time with the finish. Still I came here not knowing what to expect so it’s exciting to do this well.”

Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg was 10th overall finishing eighth in the 1,000 and 15th in the 500 on Sunday. Kristina Groves of Ottawa was 15th overall placing seventh in the 1,000 and 24th in the 500.

Jenny Wolf of Germany won both 500 races this weekend but a disqualification in Saturday’s 1,000 knocked her out of contention.

In men’s competition, Kyou-Hyuk Lee of South Korea won the title with 138.775 points despite not winning a race. Pekka Koskela of Finland, the 500 winner both days, was second at 138.840 and Shani Davis of the U.S., who swept the 1,000-metre races, was third at 139.435.

Morrison, in his world sprints debut, won the bronze medal in the 1,000 clocking 1:08.78. He was also 16th in the 500, a seven-position improvement on Saturday’s performance, and took seventh overall.

“I had a much better finish in my 1,000 today,” said Morrison, who specializes in the 1,000 and 1,500. “I particularly managed the last corner a lot better this time. To be seventh overall is a real eye-opener for me. I knew I was capable of being competitive but this is better than expected. My goal coming in was a top-16 finish overall.”

Brock Miron of Calgary was 10th in the 500 and 25th in the 1,000. On Saturday he broke his skate blade in the 500 which knocked him out of the running in the overall competition.

Mike Ireland of Winnipeg injured his ankle in Saturday’s 500 and withdrew.