Winnipeg’s Rempel wins gold, takes overall lead at world junior speed skating championships

Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg won the gold medal in the women’s 1,000 metres and took the overall lead with one race remaining on Saturday at the long track speed skating world junior championships.

Another Winnipeg speed skater Brittany Schussler added a bronze in the women’s 1,500.

In the women’s 1,000, Rempel was dominant clocking one minute and 22.16 seconds at the outdoor oval. Eriko Ishino of Japan was second in 1:22.74 and Yaketerina Shikhova of Russia third in 1:22.84. Schussler was sixth in 1:23.92.

``I really felt this was my best event and I wanted to win it,`` said Rempel, who was second overall at senior national sprint championships last month. ``I opened very hard and tried to hang on. My legs felt like a brick wall at the end.``

In the women’s 1,500, Ishino was the winner in 2:11.22 with Jorien Voorhuis of the Netherlands second in 2:11.51, Schussler third in 2:12.19 and Rempel fourth in 2:12.28. Marilou Asselin of Ste-Foy, Que., was sixth in 2:13.35.

``I didn`t have the greatest start but recovered in time to have a decent first lap,`` said Schussler, who was fourth overall last year. ``I stayed focused on technique the rest of the way and maintained good lap times. It was a lot of stress because I needed to pull off a good one to bring me up in the overall standings.``

Overall after three of four distances, Rempel leads with 126.193 points, Ishino is second at 127.530, Maki Tsuji of Japan third at 128.225 and Schussler is fourth at 128.493. Asselin is 15th. The 3,000-metres is the final race on Sunday.

``The 3,000 will be the toughest one for me,`` said Rempel. ``It all comes down to that last race. But I’ve been much faster this year and I think I have a shot to hang on to first overall.``

In men’s competition, Remco Olde Heuvel of the Netherlands earned his second gold with a victory in the men’s 1,500 to remain first overall.

Jay Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., was seventh in the 1,500 and is eighth overall, his younger brother Denny Morrison was ninth in the 1,500 and is 10th overall while Dustin Johnson of Moose Jaw, Sask., is 15th overall.

Competition ends Sunday with the men’s 5,000 and women's 3,000.