NEWS: Nesbitt wins gold again in 1,500 metres at World Cup

OTTAWA – Christine Nesbitt, of London, Ont., continued her medal haul in the 1,500-metre distance winning gold for a second consecutive weekend. In her best World Cup time this season of 1:55.68, Nesbitt won today’s 1,500 metres at the Essent ISU World Cup in Heerenveen, in the Netherlands, 1.47 seconds ahead of second place finisher Ireen Wust (1:57.15) of the Netherlands and Yekaterina Shikhova (1:57.17) of Russia, in third. (ISU results website)

“I’m happy with both the races, especially my 500,” said Nesbitt. “I had a better start than yesterday’s (500-metre) race and my lap was really strong. I felt every stride was really connecting and getting lots of pressure into the ice.

“My 1,500, I was also pretty good. I started off really hard – the fastest start I’ve ever had in a 1,500,” added Nesbitt. “It’s still the fastest time also (like today’s 500-metre race) that I’ve ever skated in Europe. They’re a lot of good things, but always room for improvement, which is also a positive thing.”

Joining Nesbitt, who has four individual gold medals and one silver on the season, in the 1,500 metres where Winnipeggers Brittany Schussler and Cindy Klassen. Schussler finished in eighth position (1:57.77) and Klassen was 19th (1:59.25). In division B, Edmonton’s Nicole Garrido was 12th (2:02.56) and Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa was 19th (2:04.43).

In today’s women’s 500 metres, Nesbitt had a fifth place finish in a time of 38.71 seconds and Winnipeg’s Shannon Rempel placed 19th (39.60). In division B, Calgary Anastasia Bucsis was fourth (39.28).

In men's 500-metre race, Calgary’s Gilmore Junio was seventh in a time of 35.24 seconds. Edmonton’s Jamie Gregg finished ninth (35.26) and William Dutton of Humboldt, Sask., was 13th (35.40). In division B competition, Richard MacLennan of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., was third (35.613) followed closely by Winnipeg-native Tyler Derraugh in fifth (35.615).

In the last race of the day, the men’s division B 10,000 metres, Canada was represented Toronto’s Jordan Belchos, Scott Bickerton of Nelson, B.C., and Winnipeg’s Stefan Waples. Bickerton and Waples, competing in their first World Cups, faced off against each other in the first pair. Waples finished in 16th place (14:02.36), while Bickerton was 18th (14:08.98). Belchos took eighth place in division B after racing in 13:35.45.

Women’s 500 metres: Gold, Jing Yu of China (37.67); Silver, Jenny Wolf of Germany (38.19); Bronze, Laurine van Riessen of the Netherlands (38.20).
Men’s 500 metres: Gold, Pekka Koskela of Finland (35.01); Silver, Joji Kato of Japan (35.02); Bronze, Jesper Hospes of the Netherlands (35.06).
Women’s 1,500 metres: Gold, Christine Nesbitt of Canada (1:55.68); Silver, Ireen Wust of the Netherlands (1:57.15); Bronze, Yekaterina Shikhova of Russia (1:57.17).
Men’s 10,000 metres: Gold, Jorritt Bergsma of the Netherlands (12:50.33); Silver, Bob de Jong of the Netherlands (12:55.11); Bronze, Bob de Vries of the Netherlands (13:03.41).

The World Cup in Heerenveen continues Sunday with the men’s and women’s 1,000-metre race, and the team pursuit and team sprint.

Canada has won five gold medals, two silvers and a bronze in this season’s long track World Cup circuit.

With Nesbitt’s medal in Heerenveen, the World Cup Podium Tracker by Intact Insurance is at $22,000 (12 gold medals, seven silver and three bronze). Intact Insurance will award $1,000 in cash and prizes to a local speed skating club with each individual medal win. Last season, Intact Insurance awarded more than $50,000 in cash and prizes.

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