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Inaugural Speed Skating champs attracts world’s best

Inaugural Speed Skating champs attracts world’s best

DUNEDIN, New Zealand (August 27, 2011) Six nations flags were flying today at the opening ceremony of the inaugural Speed Skating Championship at the 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games, but it was the Korean flag that signalled the standard of international competition would be high.

Koreans are considered the world’s best speed skaters and their performance today in the 1000 metres proved just how good they are by claiming all first four placings in both the Senior Men and Senior Women’s events. The Men’s first place getter, Tae-Hoon Kim, is ranked No. 6 in Korea and he won two gold medals at the 2010 World University Winter Games. Eun-Ja Jung, winner of the Women’s event came second at the 2010 World Champs.

Blake Skellerup, who this week won the New Zealand’s National Speed Skating Champs, came sixth overall in the 1000 metres. Blake was disappointed with his performance but pleased to have the experience of racing against the Koreans. “I didn’t expect to win; the Koreans are just too good. I was hoping for a personal best but didn’t manage it. It’s brilliant that the Winter Games has brought this international competition here and I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s events.”

Allie Rout, who in recent times switched from figure skating to speed skating, is New Zealand’s top female speed skater. Allie won the C Final of the 1000 meters, giving her an overall placing of 9th in the Senior Women’s Event.

There will be more speed skating action tomorrow with the 500 metres, 1500 metres and team relay events.

100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games continues on Sunday August 28 at the Dunedin Ice Stadium with Speed Skating Finals.


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