Winnipeg’s Mike Ireland beats world champion Jeremy Wotherspoon at speed skating nationals

Mike Ireland of Winnipeg received another jolt of confidence Friday as he beat world champion Jeremy Wotherspoon for gold in the men’s 500-metres at the 2004 Canada Post All Round Canadian Championships long track speed skating competition.

Ireland, the world sprint champion in 2001, clocked 34.58 seconds and achieved a rare feat by beating Wotherspoon, of Red Deer, Alta. Wotherspoon, who has lost one international race over the past two seasons, was second in 34.72. James Monson of Winnipeg took third in 35.60.

“The first half of my race is what I mainly focused on today because it’s been my weak point this season,” said Ireland, who is tuning up for the world sprints later this month in Japan. “So that went well today but I didn’t actually finish that good which is unusual for me. But still in the 500, I think if you can nail those first 300 metres then you have a good chance of winning the race.”

Ireland, 29, battled injuries last season but has made a very strong comeback this year. At the opening two World Cup events he posted six top-five finishes in seven races.

“I’m happy with my season so far,” he said. “I still need to iron out some technical and equipment issues but conditioning-wise this is the best shape I’ve ever been in.”

Wotherspoon did rebound with a win in the 1,000 while Ireland fell but was not injured.

On the women’s side, Krisy Myers of Lloydminster, Sask., took gold in the 500 and 1,000 metre races.

“I was happy with both races,” said Myers, who is also tuning up for the world sprints. “I was very pleased in the 1,000 with how I attacked the race and battled through the pain as it built-up in my legs.”

Competition continues Saturday at the Olympic Oval beginning at 9 a.m. local time.

Friday’s results at the 2003 Canada Post All Round Canadian Championships long track speed skating competition in Calgary:


MEN


500:

1. Mike Ireland, Winnipeg, 34.58 seconds

2. Jeremy Wotherspoon, Red Deer, Alta., 34.72

3. James Monson, Winnipeg, 35.60

4. Sterling Sobczak, Winnipeg, 36.63

5. Ian Houghton, Abbotsford, B.C., 36.93

6. Mark Wild, Cambridge, Ont., 37.27

7. Kent Toth, Calgary, 37.38

8. Vincent Labrie, Ste-Foy, Que., 37.42

9. Jean-François Tessier, Quebec, 37.56

10. Stew Therrien, Calgary, 37.82.



1,000

1. Wotherspoon, Red Deer, Alta., 1 :08.90

2. Sobczak, Winnipeg, 1:11.35

3. Monson, Winnipeg, 1:11.49

4. Houghton, Abbotsford, B.C., 1:11.76

5. Jeff Kitura, Langley, B.C., 1:12.00

6. Wild, Cambridge, Ont., 1:12.09

7. Tessier, Quebec, 1:13.05


8. Cailean Duggan, Ottawa, 1:13.21

9. Labrie, 1:14.50

10. Toth, 1:14.63.




WOMEN

500

1. Krisy Myers, Lloydminster, Sask., 39.43

2. Kim Weger, Regina, 39.91

3. Sarah Smith, Medicine Hat, Alta., 40.04

4. Danielle Wotherspoon, Red Deer, Alta., 40.10

5. Marie-Josée Arès-Pilon, Calgary, 40.54

6. Marilou Asselin, Quebec City, 40.77

7. Mireille Savard, Ste-Foy, Que., 41.96

8. Lucie Côté, Matane, Que., 42.13

9. Lauren Wetzel, Ottawa, 42.42

10. Emily Smith, Medicine Hat, 42.51



1,000


1. Myers, Lloydminster, Sask., 1:18.16

2. Weger, Regina, 1:19.15

3. Sarah Smith, Medicine Hat, Alta., 1:19.77

4. Christine Nesbitt, London, Ont., 1:19.95

5. Wotherspoon, Red Deer, Alta., 1:20.12

6. Asselin, Quebec City, 1:20.56

7. Alexandra Wrubleski, Regina, 1:20.74

8. Savard, Ste-Foy, Que., 1:23.21

9. Shannon Sibold, Calgary, 1:23.43

10. Blaire Anderson, Winnipeg, 1:24.08.