Dutch sweep to open speed skating world championships

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PYEONCGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — Sven Kramer won his eighth world 5000m title after a duel with Dutch countryman Jorrit Bergsma at the world single distances speedskating championships on the 2018 Olympic track on Thursday.

Hardly outdone, compatriot Ireen Wust regained the 3000m from Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic.

Kramer didn’t put any light between him and Bergsma until the 3000m split. Kramer clocked 6 minutes, 6.82 seconds, and Bergsma was less than three seconds behind.

Kramer said he was happy with his eighth 5000m gold medal, but he was looking forward to returning in a year for the Winter Games.

“365 days is far away,” he said. “Of course, it’s my goal, not only the 5000m, but also the 10,000m, the team pursuit and maybe a bonus 1500m.”

Peter Michael won the first worlds medal for New Zealand when he earned the bronze in 6:11.67, a personal best by almost four seconds.

Wust was the first woman in the race to go under four minutes at 3:59.5, and Sablikova said she didn’t believe she could beat it.

“I aimed at 4:02,” Sablikova said. “To go under four minutes … I only did that once in my lifetime. I did not think I could (beat Wust’s time), but during the race I felt good and I tried for sure.”

She just missed at 3:59.65. Antoinette de Jong of the Netherlands was third.

Wust won the 3000mpreviously in 2011 and 2013. Sablikova won it in 2007, 2012, 2015, and 2016. Their fight for the gold will be one of the highlights of the Olympics: Sablikova won in 2010, and Wust in 2006 and 2014.

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