European Championship highlights
Together with team mates Ireen Wüst and Antoinette de Jong, Melissa Wijfje secured a win for the Netherlands in the Team Pursuit event of the European Championships which were held in Thialf, Netherlands. They beat Russia and Belarus to secure victory.Mass Start
Twenty-four year old Melissa Wijfje gained a further medal – Bronze – in the MassStart event. Racing strongly she gave every appearance of winning until the last few metres when she was pipped at the post by Italian Lollobrigada, and compatriot Schouten.
Never the less it was another brilliant achievement for Wijfje who recently made a dream come true when she was allowed to carry the Dutch flag during a lap of honour – having then beaten big names Ireen Wüst and Jorien ter Morswon to win an earlier 1500 metre event also held in Thialf.
That success assured her of selection to participate in the event we are discussing …also in the World Cup Speed Skating event to be held in Calgary, Canada on the 7th and 8th February; and again in the forthcoming World Speed Skating Championships to be held in Salt Lake City, USA – February 13th – 16th. The world will be watching!
Junior World Record
Femke Kok surprised herself by breaking the Junior World Record for the 500m event. She shaved almost a second off her personal record for the distance to achieve the accolade.
Together with Letitia de Jong and Ireen Wüst, Femke Kok won Silver in the team sprint during her debut at the European Championship distances in Thialf.
With this success Kok – who races as a Junior – has won a place at senior level in the World Cup Distances in Calgary – but must now decide whether to take up that offer, or to continue her Junior race programme by taking part in the Junior World Championships to be held in Poland only a few days later than the Calgary event. “The Junior World Championship is still my main goal for this season.” she says, as she considers her participation plan against these new developments.
Overwhelming success in Thialf
Taken all together the Region of Fryslân scored a hefty blow to the opposition in front of a large crowd of enthusiastic supporters in Thialf – and more than 1 million fans watching on TV. The tournament is always one to watch – producing national titles – and consistently being a venue where places can be earned for the European Championship, the World Championship and the World Cups.
Sanneke de Neeling (500/1000 meters) and Jesper Hospes (500 meters) prove this by both qualifying for the tournament in Calgary by finishing among the top five performers. The Netherlands have a history of producing top international skaters – amid such stiff competition Hospes and De Neeling have given a performance to be proud of.
Gewest Fryslân have much to celebrate from the performance of their skaters, trainers and coaches.
Victron Energy is proud to sponsor all at Gewest Fryslân and we are thrilled with these latest successes.
(Images © Martin de Jong)