Nesbitt wins gold in 1,000 metres

Nesbitt wins gold in 1,000 metres at World Single Distances Championships
Another top 10 finish for Klassen, seventh in the 5,000 metres

AUDIO FILES (MP3): Belchos, Christ, Garrido, Irvine, Klassen, Nesbitt (English), Nesbitt (French), Nesbitt media scrum, Schussler, Wang (coach), Wild (coach)

HEERENVEEN, Netherlands – Christine Nesbitt of Canada won her second gold medal in as many days today as she outpaced her closest opponent by almost a second to win the 1,000 metres at the ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships in Heerenveen, the Netherlands. The 26-year-old won the 1,500 metres on Friday. Cindy Klassen posted another top 10 results, taking seventh place in the 5,000 metres.

Nesbitt, of London, Ont., took the gold medal in one minute and 15.16 seconds. Jing Yu of China was second in a time of 1:15.98, 0.82 seconds off the winning pace. Skating in the last pair with Nesbitt, Margot Boer of the Netherlands was the bronze medalist (1:16.16).

“I was on the outer lane and I haven’t done a lot of those this year,” said Nesbitt. “I knew I had to have a good reaction to the gun. I kind of panicked because the girl (Boer) I was racing, I expected to be closer to her off the start. I wasn’t that close.

“I built my second corner really well anyways to try and chase her down,” added Nesbitt. “I had a really good first lap off of that. The second lap I think I was sitting on my heel. I think I had a couple of slips. My coach said I had a pretty good race considering I almost fell. I don’t think it was that dramatic.

“It was still a solid race and I’m really happy with it,” concluded Nesbitt. “I felt powerful even if it wasn’t perfect.”

“It was not the perfect race. She almost fell with 250 metres to go,” said Nesbitt’s coach Xiuli Wang. “She had lots of speed. She wasn’t holding well, but she got back and finished the race strong. Even if it’s wasn’t a perfect race, she’s in the elite and on a higher level.”

“The end result was exactly where we wanted as a group,” noted Mark Wild, Nesbitt’s coach. “The race itself wasn’t the cleanest of the weekend. For her to gap the field by almost a second just proves how good she is at this distance.”

Other Canadians in the women’s 1,000 metres had Regina’s Kali Christ and Calgary’s Kaylin Irvine skating in their first World Single Distances Championship. Christ, 20, cracked the top 10, finishing in a time of 1:17.15 for ninth place, while 21-year-old Irvine was 17th (1:18.19).

Skating alone in the first pair of the 10,000 metres, Toronto’s Jordan Belchos finished in a time of 13:36.59 to place 13th. Bob de Jong of the Netherlands won in a time of 12:53.91, with teammate Jorrit Bergsma taking the silver medal (12:57.71) and American Jonathan Kuck earned the bronze medal (13:12.66).

In the women’s 5,000 metres, Edmonton’s Nicole Garrido and Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg faced off in the first pair. Schussler finished in a time of 7:24.79 for 15th place and Garrido crossed the line in 7:31.26 for 16th spot. Skating in the fifth pair, Winnipeg’s Klassen finished in a time of 7:14.19 for seventh place. This was the 32-year-old’s third top 10 finish in as many races at this world single distances championship (4th in the 1,500, and 6th in the 3,000).

Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic took the women’s 5,000 metres gold medal in a time of 6:50.46. The German duo of Stephanie Beckert and Claudia Pechstein were second (6:56.64) and third (7:04.01), respectively.

CBC TV will broadcast highlights of the first day (Thursday) today between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. On Sunday from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. (local time), they will show Day 2 coverage.

The season wraps-up on Sunday with the two 500-metre races and team pursuit.