Ignat Golovatsiuk powering off from the start
MINSK – The second day of the FISU World University Speed Skating Champions started off with the power, fury and speed found only in the 500 M sprint discipline. The women’s competition went first, with Japan’s Miku Asano emerging victorious with her time of 39.48. Her compatriot Rio Yamada (39.61) took the silver, with Poland’s Kaja Ziomek earning the bronze.
The race was tense, as only after the final race’s pairing would decide the podium positions. The winner, though, had a focus composure that belied the excitement filling the stadium.
“I didn’t worry before the race, I went on ice calmly and confidently,” said Ms. Asano. “I’m not satisfied with the result fully, usually I show better time – but I’m glad to take part in the championship. Belarus has been a very hospitable country.”
On day two, Belarus made its way into the 2018 FISU World University Championships in the Men’s 500 M sprint. Tribunes blew up when Ignat Golovatsiuk’s result popped up on the board – 35.58. The silver medal! This is the first Belarusian medal of the fourth edition of WUC Speed Skating, and of the 2018 WUC series, which is in its third of 34 events this year. It was Tatsuya Shinhama, though, who made it a double golden start of the day for Japan by winning the 500 M, with Kazakhstan’s Artyom Krikonov taking home the bronze.
Artyom Krikunov en route to his bronze medal performance in the 500 M
Despite the acclaim from the public in attendance, the Belarusian medalist wanted more on his silver medal-winning day. “Honestly, I am not satisfied with my start, my actual running techniques. I wished to win the gold medal, Mr. Golovatsiuk said. “The Japanese athlete was the main opponent. However, it’s true fair play. I should admit the high-level of the championship organization; tribunes are completely filled, a lot of athletes from different countries came to the championship. I am glad to bring a silver medal to Belarus. Unfortunately, for the Belarusian team this race wasn’t a smooth one, my teammate Artsiom Chaban fell down. Well, this is sport.”
Tatsuya found himself in a completely locked-in zone. “I was so concentrated on the race that I don’t remember anything – as if I was in trance,” the gold medalist said. “Only when I ‘woke up’ I realized that I’m the winner. Honestly, I didn’t expect that the speed skating could be so popular in Belarus.”
The Men’s 500 M sprint podium with Japan’s Tatsuya Shinhama (centre) with gold, Belarus’ Ignat Golovatsiuk (left) with silver and Kazakhstan’s Artyom Krikonov (right) with bronze.
In the Women’s Team Pursuit, 18 athletes from 5 countries took part. The Netherlands team of Lilian Temmink, Paulin Verhaar, Anne Ruyssenaars took the first place with the result 3:17.48.
“This was amazing, we are so happy, Ms. Temmink said. “To tell the truth we didn’t expect to take the first place. We thought the Russian team or the Polish team would win. Temmink’s shared in the general sentiment of the competitors on the quality of the ice and the general level of the championship, saying: “I like Minsk-Arena, it is cold here, that is very good for the ice platform.”
The Russian team of Elena Samkova, Elena Eranina, Anastasia Zdravkova took the second place with the result 3:18.72. “We really wanted to win, we knew we could do it,” Ms. Samkova said. “We lost a little to the Dutch team, but we are pleased with a good result.” The Chinese team of Jie Yang, Xingchen Meng, Jingyao Lyu finished third (3:24.23).
The Men’s Team Pursuit was the capstone event of day two as the Italian trifecta of David Ghiotto, Alessio Trentini, Michele Malfatti took the first place with the result 3:53:11. The team from Kazakhstan comprised of Dmitriy Morozov, Ivan Arzhanikov and Demyan Gavrilov won the silver medal with the result 3:56:36. The Nederland team of Ronald Ligtenberg, Jeroen Janissen and Sjors van der Meer finished third in 3:57:97.
“The ice is really wonderful,” Mr. Ghiotto said. “There is a very friendly atmosphere, everything is done to make the athletes feel at home. Special thanks to your fans. This is very pleasant when so many people are ready to support you during competitions. We hope to come to Belarus again.”