Third national title for Arne Dankers at Canada Post Single Distance Championships & Olympic trials

Arne Dankers of Calgary is headed to the Olympic Games as a triple national champion after his victory Tuesday in the men’s 10,000 metres to conclude the Canada Post Single Distance Championships and Olympic trials in long track speed skating.

The Canadian long track Olympic team, expected to be among Canada’s biggest medal producers in Turin next month, will be officially nominated on Wednesday during a news conference at the Olympic Oval set for noon local time.

Dankers continued a standout season Tuesday clocking 13 minutes and 22.93 seconds to grab the one available quota spot for Canada in the event. Justin Warsylewicz of Regina smashed his personal best for second spot in 13:30.29 while Adam Laurence of Kitchener, Ont., was third in 14:25.77.

The 25-year-old Dankers, who has also lowered three national marks this season, also won the 1,500 and 5,000 metre races at the competition.

‘’I’m probably going to do more races than I expected at the Olympics but I’m very excited about it,’’ said Dankers. ‘’Qualifying for the 10,000 was one my big goals. I had a great race last month at a World Cup and I was happy to repeat that performance here. It’s a mentally tough race, one of the biggest challenges is keeping your head in it from start to finish.’’

In the women’s 5,000 Kristina Groves of Ottawa notched a second victory clocking first in 7:02.20 just two seconds off her personal best time. Meaghan Buisson of Saskatoon was second.

‘’My first seven laps were great but the wheels fell off after that,’’ said Groves. ‘’It was still a decent race and it was good for me to do it. It shows I need to do some more long distance training. The 5,000 has been a tough event for me this year.’’

Groves and Cindy Klassen and Clara Hughes, both of Winnipeg, had been pre-selected for Olympic nomination in the 5,000.

Canada can send 20 athletes (10 men and 10 women) in long track speed skating to the Olympic Games Nine of those spots (five men and four women) had been secured prior to the trials by skaters who have pre-qualified based on performances at last year’s world championships and this season’s World Cups.