Mark Nielsen & Jeremy Wotherspoon win medals at long track speed skating World Cup

Mark Nielsen of Calgary won the silver medal in the men’s 100-metre dash and Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., added a bronze medal in the 500-metres Sunday to conclude the fourth stop on the long track speed skating circuit.

In the men’s 100 dash, Fengtong Yu of China took the gold in 9.56 seconds, Nielsen was just 0.01 seconds behind in 9.57 and Yuya Oikawa of Japan was third in 9.62. All three raced head-on in the final after competing in a qualifying round on Saturday and a semifinal earlier Sunday. James Monson of Winnipeg was 17th and Jean-René Bélanger of Sherbrooke, Que., 20th.

‘’It’s a fun race especially when it goes down to the wire like today,’’ said Nielsen, 25, with his fourth career World Cup medal in the event. ‘’I think the guys that are good in the 100 probably have some kind of natural ability or instinct. For me it may be something I also carried over from my hockey days.’’

In the men’s 500, Dmitry Lobkov of Russia earned the gold in 35.15 with his pair Joji Kato of Japan second in 35.19. Wotherspoon, Saturday’s winner, followed in 35.27.

‘’Physically I felt very good today, prepared to skate but I didn’t execute my race properly,’’ said Wotherspoon. ‘’But my starts are improving again and now I just need to make my turns a lot more solid so I can generate more speed.’’

With two 500 races remaining, Wotherspoon has a healthy lead atop the distance’s World Cup standings with 608 points while Kato is second at 458. Each victory is worth 100 points. Wotherspoon is seeking a fourth consecutive 500 World Cup title and his seventh in eighth years.

Beorn Nijenhuis led the Netherlands to a medal sweep in the 1,000 clocking 1:09.20. Wotherspoon was fifth for the second straight day clocking 1:09.87.

‘’It was very similar to yesterday’s race,’’ said Wotherspoon, fourth in the 1,000 World Cup standings. ‘’One of the things that was better today is that dropped off a bit less at the end.’’

In the B group races, Nielsen, Brock Miron of Calgary, Bélanger and Monson were fifth, eighth, 15th and 18th respectively in the 500. In the 1,000, Miron was 10th, Jay Morrison of Fort St, John, B.C., 11th, Jason Parker of Yorkton, Sask., 12th and Bélanger 16th.

On the women’s side, Shannon Rempel of Winnipeg was 13th in both the 500 and 1,000 metre races and Krisy Myers of Lloydminster, Sask., 20th in the 1,000.

In the 500 B group race, Myers was seventh, Kim Weger of Regina eighth, Sarah Smith of Medicine Hat, Alta., 14th and Danielle Wotherspoon of Red Deer 15th. In the 1,000, Christine Nesbitt of London, Ont., was third, Brittany Schussler of Winnipeg fifth and Wotherspoon seventh.

The World Cup final runs this Friday to Sunday at Heerenveen, the Netherlands.