Wotherspoon wins gold, Ireland bronze at world sprint championships

Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., won the gold medal in the men’s 500-metres and Winnipeg’s Mike Ireland added a bronze in the same race on Saturday at the long track speed skating world sprint championships.

Both Canadians are in hot pursuit for the men’s overall title at the halfway point of the competition with Wotherspoon standing second and Ireland third. Canada has held the men’s crown the last five years. Wotherspoon won in 1999 and 2000, Ireland in 2001 and Wotherspoon added his third and four world sprint titles the last two seasons.

In the men’s 500, Wotherspoon clocked 35.25 seconds for his eighth career victory in the event at the world sprints. Olympic bronze medallist Kip Carpenter of the U.S., was second in 35.36 and Ireland third in 35.40.

“I had a good 500 but it will have to be better,” said Wotherspoon, who has lost only one 500-metre race on the international scene over the past two seasons. “Certainly the ice here is not as fast as in Calgary and Salt Lake City but we knew that coming in. It’s hard to compare performances but I picked up some points I can improve on.”

Ireland posted another strong result in what has been a comeback season after struggling with injuries last winter.

“It was a so-so race,” said Ireland, who has posted six top-five finishes in seven races on the World Cup this season. “When I got off the line, my body was a little bit higher than I would have liked. So that made it slower than I was hoping for at the start. But the rest wasn’t bad.”

In the 1,000, Erben Wennemars of the Netherlands smoked the field clocking 1:09.46 while Wotherspoon was fourth in 1:10.40 and Ireland fifth in 1:10.52.

With the win, Wennemars leads the overall standings with 70.430 points. Wotherspoon is second at 70.450 and Ireland third at 70.660.

“It’ll be a big challenge to catch Wennemars but it’s not impossible,” said Wotherspoon, with four World Cup wins this season. “In the 1,000 today I didn’t get enough speed on the first lap so I’m really going to have to improve that and bring my time down. It would be great to keep that title but I’ll have to play catch-up this year.”

James Monson of Calgary is 20th overall and Jean-René Bélanger of Sherbrooke, Que., 30th.

In women’s competition, Marianne Timmer of the Netherlands is the overall leader after third place performances in both the 500 and 1,000 at 77.535 points. Anni Friesinger of Germany, the 1,000 winner, is second at 77.740 and Manli Wang of China third at 77.900. Sayuri Osuga of Japan won the 500 but struggled in the 1,000 and is 11th overall.

Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg, who’ll look to defend her world junior crown in a few weeks, is 18th overall, Kerry Simpson of Melville, Sask., 20th, Krisy Myers of Lloydminster, Sask., 23rd and Kim Weger of Regina, 25th.

Competition ends Sunday with another set of 500 and 1,000 metre races.

Saturday’s leading results at the long track speed skating world sprint championships (all distances in metres):



MEN



500


1. Jeremy Wotherspoon, Red Deer, Alta., 35.25 seconds

2. Kip Carpenter, U.S., 35.36

3. (tie) Mike Ireland, Winnipeg, and Hiroyasu Shimizu, Japan, 35.40

5. Dmitry Lobkov, Russia, 35.49

6. Casey Fitzrandolph, U.S., 35.50

7. Gerard van Velde, Netherlands, 35.64

8. Fengtong Yu, China, 35.66

9. Erben Wennemars, Netherlands, 35.70

10. Janne Hanninen, Finland, 35.71



Other Canadians


14. James Monson, Calgary, 35.99

32. Jean-René Bélanger, Sherbrooke, Que., 37.23



1,000


1. Erben Wennemars, Netherlands, 1:09.46

2. Beorn Nijenhuis, Netherlands, 1:10.37

3. Janne Hanninen, Finland, 1:10.38

4. Jeremy Wotherspoon, Red Deer, Alta., 1:10.40

5. Mike Ireland, Winnipeg, 1:10.52

6. Gerard van Velde, Netherlands, 1:10.73

7. Simon Kuipers, Netherlands, 1:10.82

8. Casey Fitzrandolph, U.S., 1:10.84

9. Kip Carpenter, U.S., 1:10.94

10. Takaharu Nakajima, Japan, 1:10.97


Other Canadians


24. James Monson, Calgary 1:12.48

27. Jean-René Bélanger, Sherbrooke, Que., 1:13.38



Overall (after two of four races)


1. Wennemars, 70.430 points

2. Wotherspoon, 70.450

3. Ireland, 70.660

4. Carpenter, 70.830

5. Hanninen, 70.900

6. Fitzrandolph, 70.920

7. van Velde, 71.005

8. Shimizu, 71.090

9. Nijenhuis, 71.095

10. Lobkov, 71.100



Other Canadians


20. Monson, 72.230

30. Bélanger, 73.920




WOMEN



500


1. Sayuri Osuga, Japan, 38.79

2. Manli Wang, China, 38.85

3. Marianne Timmer, Netherlands, 38.94

4. Monique Garbrecht-Enfeldt, Germany, 39.04

5. Aki Tonoike, Japan, 39.05

6. Tomomi Okazaki, Japan, 39.06

7. Shihomi Shinya, Japan, 39.08

8. Anzhelika Kotyuga, Belarus, 39.15

9. Pamela Zoellner, Germany, 39.23

10. Jenny Wolf, Germany, 39.25


Canadians


19. Shannon Rempel, Winnipeg, 39.87

22. Krisy Myers, Lloydminster, Sask., 40.11

23. Kim Weger, Regina, 40.17

25. Kerry Simpson, Melville, Sask., 40.44



1,000


1. Anni Friesinger, Germany, 1:16.70

2. Jennifer Rodriguez, U.S., 1:17.02

3. Marianne Timmer, Netherlands, 1:17.19

4. Annamarie Thomas, Netherlands, 1:18.08

5. Manli Wang, China, 1:18.10

6. Anzhelika Kotyuga, Belarus, 1:18.14

7. Pamela Zoellner, Germany, 1:18.52

8. Chiara Simionato, Italy, 1:18.63

9. Aki Tonoike, Japan, 1:18.68

10. Monique Garbrecht-Enfeldt, Germany, 1:18.71


Canadians


17. Kerry Simpson, Melville, Sask., 1:19.41

18. Shannon Rempel, Winnipeg, 1:19.45

26. Krisy Myers, Lloydminster, Sask., 1:21.70

27. Kim Weger, Regina, 1:21.83



Overall (after two of four races)


1. Timmer, 77.535

2. Friesinger, 77.740

3. Wang, 77.900

4. Rodriguez, 78.000

5. Kotyuga, 78.220

6. Tonoike, 78.390

7. Garbrecht-Enfeldt, 78.395

8. Zoelnner, 78.490

9. Shinya, 78.520

10. Okazaki, 78.645



Canadians


18. Shannon Rempel, Winnipeg, 79.595

20. Kerry Simpson, Melville, Sask., 80.145

23. Krisy Myers, Lloydminster, Sask., 80.960

25. Kim Weger, Regina, 81.085