B.C.’s Denny Morrison wins silver medal in 1,500 at world junior speed skating championships

Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., won the silver medal in a thrilling men’s 1,500 metres on Saturday to hold on to second place overall after three of four races at the world junior long track speed skating championships.

Sven Kramer of Netherlands took the gold medal in the 1,500 clocking a track record 1:53.72 at the outdoor venue.

Morrison, who was paired with Kramer, was leading the race with 50 metres to go but ran out of gas and finished in 1:54.02 for his second medal of the competition. On Friday he won the gold medal in the 500. Michael Kaate of the Netherlands was third in 1:55.62.

"Kramer was too strong at the end," said Morrison, 19. "He’s more of a long distance guy and he didn’t drop off too much over the final laps. I’m happy but still when I think back to that last 200 metres I wish I had had a little extra."

Francois-Olivier Roberge of Ste-Foy, Que., was fifth in 1:56.24 and Justin Warsylewicz of Regina, the defending overall champion, took eighth in 1:57.12.

Kramer, third at the senior world all around championships two weeks ago, leads the overall standings with 115.699 points, Morrison is second at 115.997 and Wouter Olde Heuvel of the Netherlands third at 116.970. Warsylewicz is sixth at 117.703 and Roberge eighth at 118.227.

Warsylewicz missed the first half of the season when he was diagnosed with a heart irregularity which required surgeries on November 17 and December 8 in which a catheter was wired into his heart. Canadian coach Marcel Lacroix said the missed training has started to show over the past couple of weeks.

"Justin’s only 19 so it’s hard for a young athlete like that to rebound from that," said Lacroix. "He was having a great season since coming back at the nationals (in December) but it finally caught up to him."

The final race on Sunday is the 5,000 metres.

In women’s competition, Justine L’Heureux of St-Tite, Que., was 25th in the 1,000 and 23rd in the 1,500 to stand 20th overall , Kirsti Lay of Medicine Hat, Alta., 29th in the 1,000 and 31st in the 1,500 for 28th and Kelsey Duffield of Red Deer, Alta., 31st in the 1,000 and 29th in the 1,500 for 29th.