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Voronina sets new record in women's 5,000m speed skating

Published : 16 Feb 2020, 11:18

  DF-Xinhua Report

Russia's Natalia Voronina competes during the Women's 5000m event at the ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships in Salt Lake City, the United States, Feb. 15, 2020. Photo Matt Herp/Xinhua.

Natalya Voronina of Russia beat 10-time world champion Martina Sablikova to take gold and set a new world record in the women's 5,000m at the ISU World Single Distance Speed Skating Championships here on Saturday.

   Starting in the fourth pair, 32-year-old Sablikova seemed set to claim another world title after a dominating decade as the Czech skater broke her own world record with a time of six minutes and 41.18 seconds.

   However, 25-year-old Voronina was faster in the final pair, winning her first world title and further lowering the world record in 6:39.02. Esmee Visser of the Netherlands, who was paired up with Sablikova, took bronze in 6:46.68.

   "I did not realize that I was faster than Martina. It was only when my coach shouted that I was 2.5 seconds faster after 4,600m that I knew it could be a world record. I thought, 'if I don't fall, the title is mine'," the newly-crowned world champion was quoted as saying by the official ISU website.

   "This was an incredible competition. I was going to lose this title sooner or later and I'm very happy for her," said Sablikova, who was the first to congratulate Voronina after the race.

   "I told her that she's my hero. She skated under 6:40. I've tried to do that five times before and never managed."

   Another world record was shattered on Saturday as Pavel Kulizhnikov of Russia edged former Dutch record holder Kjeld Nuis in the men's 1,000m competition.

   The Russian, fresh from a 500m win on Friday, was fastest on ice from the very beginning, crossing the line in 1:05.69. Nuis shook off a slow start for the second place in 1:06.73 and Canada's Laurent Dubreuil finished third in 1:06.765.

   In the women's 1,000m race, Jutta Leerdam of the Netherlands celebrated her maiden world championships victory. The 21-year-old clocked 1:11.847 to add another gold after winning the team sprint on Thursday.

   Olga Fatkulina of Russia came second in 1:12.331, 0.01 seconds faster than Japan's Tagaki Miho.

   Elsewhere on Saturday, the Netherlands took the men's team pursuit title with a time of 3:34.687. Japan and Russia took silver and bronze respectively.