Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., wins silver medal at speed skating World Cup

Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., posted her best individual international result of her career on Friday with a silver medal performance in the women’s 1,000-metre to open the 2006-2007 World Cup season in long track speed skating.

Olympic bronze medallist Anni Friesinger of Germany was the winner in 1:15.89 with Nesbitt second in 1:16.08 and Ireen Wust of the Netherlands third in 1:16.63.

"I didn’t get too excited before the race and stayed focused," said Nesbitt, a member of Canada’s women’s pursuit team that won Olympic silver last year. "I didn’t know my pair very well (Nao Kodaira of Japan) but I was glad to have the outer lane so I could chase her down. At the last corner I was feeling very tired."

The 21-year-old Nesbitt was in the ninth of 15 pairs and it wasn’t until the last pair of the day that she was knocked out of first place. In that last pair, Friesinger outduelled Olympic champion Marianne Timmer of the Netherlands who wound up seventh.

"I didn’t know whether my time would hold up but I had built a pretty good gap at that point," said Nesbitt. "I wasn’t paying too much attention until I got off the ice after my warm down and my teammates appeared to be pretty excited about my medal possibilities."

Kristina Groves of Ottawa was fifth in 1:17.44 and Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg sixth in 1:17.50. Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg was 24th and Krisy Myers of Lloydminster, Sask., 29th.

Other Canadian results:

In the men’s 1,500, Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., second in the World Cup standings last season, was seventh, François-Olivier Roberge of St. Nicholas, Que., 13th, Steven Elm of Red Deer, Alta., 14th and Arne Dankers of Calgary 16th. In the B Group race, Justin Warsylewicz of Regina was fifth.

In the men’s 500, Brock Miron of Calgary was 17th, Mike Ireland of Winnipeg 21st and Vincent Labrie of St. Romuald, Que., 22nd. Morrison was fifth in the B group.

In the women’s 500, Rempel was 15th, while in the B Group, Nesbitt, Kim Weger of Regina and Myers were 1-2-3. Justine L’Heureux of St-Tite, Que., was ninth.

Competition continues through to Sunday.