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10 March 2020 | in FISU World University Championships

Stiff winds and record setting performances at WUC Speed Skating

AMSTERDAM – While the 2020 FISU WUC Speed Skating officially kicked off with the opening ceremony on Monday evening, participants faced off for the inaugural event of the 2020 FISU sports events season in head-to-head competition under typically Dutch weather.

 

wuc speedskating 5While the world’s finest collection of university speed skaters prepared for their races, rain poured from the skies as a stiff, unrelenting wind ripped through the open-air venue. In short, the rough weather conditions would reward an additional measure of mental fortitude from the competitors.

 

During the Ladies’ 3000m and the Men’s 5000m, with the weather stayed as classic Dutch as possible, the student-athletes showed a vigour only university competitors can: by shooting and rooting on their teammates. The spirit around the oval was high; the crowd was amazed.

 

The Ladies’ 3000m victory went to no one else but the WUC Speed Skating ambassador Esmee Visser. The Olympic gold medallist led Team Netherlands to a clean sweep of the event, with Sterre Jonkers taking silver and Sanne in ‘t Hof finishing third.

 

The Men’s 5000m continued the theme of Dutch dominance on home ice with Victor Ramler claiming the title. USA Team’s Ethan Cepuran finished second and Dutch skater Jeroen Janissen took third. While the crowd got behind another Team NL victory, the event's biggest cheers were reserved for Cepuran as his American teammates boisterously rooted him.

 

By the time the Ladies 500m event started, the rain came to a close. The respite in the weather helped aid the strong athletes performances, capped by a track record! Irina Kuznetsova of Russia broke the old oval best with a stunning 39.38-second performance to take the title. Polish teammates Kaja Ziomek placed second, with Andzelika Wojcik finishing just 12/100ths behind Ziomek in third.

 

Kuznetsova performance wouldn’t be the day’s only track record at Jaap Eden IJsbanen, Amsterdam’s largest and most famous ice skating center.

wucspeedskating 3

With a time of 35.73 seconds, Japan’s Yamato Matsui set a new best time in the 500m. Just behind in behind him in 35.84 seconds was Ignat Golovatjuk of Belarus, with Japan taking the final medal of the day with Wataru Morishige finishing third in 36.32.

 

What started as a dour weather day, it eventually ended with some of the fastest and most impressive races the historic 60-year-old venue. Named after the Jacobus Johannes "Jaap" Eden, the only male athlete to win world championships in speed skating and bicycle racing, the ice rink has been central to Amsterdam’s sporting scene since 1961. Through it all, the crowd was cheering, clapping, rooting, taking pictures and making memories. It was a day to remember, and we’re just started with the first of four days of competition! Let’s see what tomorrow will bring.

 

wucspeedskating 2Japan’s Yamato Matsui (centre) set a new best time in the Men's 500m, and is joined on the podium with Ignat Golovatjuk of Belarus (left) in second and Japan's Wataru Morishige in third.

wucspeedskating 4Dutch dominance continued on home ice with Victor Ramler (centre) claiming the Men's 500m title. USA Team’s Ethan Cepuran (left) finished second with the Dutch skater Jeroen Janissen taking third.