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De Jong clinches maiden world title, Roest seizes silver at Thialf

De Jong clinches maiden world title, Roest seizes silver at Thialf

After three medals (2x bronze, 1x silver) at the ISU World Single Distance Championships, Antoinette de Jong has finally won her first individual world title of her career. The 25-year-old speed skater of Team Jumbo-Visma finished just ahead of defending world champion Martina Sáblíková in the ladies' 3,000-meter race on Thursday at Thialf, Heerenveen. Patrick Roest seized silver in the men's 5,000-meter race.

De Jong skated her 3,000-meter race with a lot of guts and clocked a time of 3:58.47. By doing so, she won her first individual world title. Defending champion Sáblíková was just 0.10 seconds slower than De Jong, taking silver in 3:58.57. Irene Schouten won the bronze medal in 3:59.75, while Team Jumbo-Visma skater Joy Beune ended up in sixth place (4:02.21).

Before Thursday, De Jong had already won bronze twice (2016 and 2017) and once silver (2019) in the 3,000 meters at the World Single Distance Championships. In 2016 and 2017, she also managed to seize gold in the Team Pursuit, but she did not yet have an individual world title. De Jong is the third Dutch speed skater to become world champion at the distance, after Renate Groenewold and Ireen Wüst.

"I have been rewarded for showing courage," a very happy De Jong said afterwards. "Today, it was really all or nothing. The start was perhaps a little bit too fast, but I thought: I just have to give it a try. When I saw my time, I thought: this is not going to be enough to take gold, so I was a little bit fed up after my race. However, you never know what happens. Fortunately, it still turned out to be enough to win my first world title. Dreams do come true."

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Roest gutted to have failed at a third successive World Championships

Later on Thursday, Roest had to settle for silver in the men's 5,000-meter race. The three-time world champion allround, who had won 17 of his previous 19 races in the 5,000m, set a time of 6:10.05, finishing behind winner Nils van der Poel (Sweden): 6:08.39.

Sergey Trofimov (Russia) managed to pull off 6:13.02 in the final pairing versus Sven Kramer, who suffered from a recurring back injury and finished nineteenth (6:35.52). The 34-year-old speed skater of Team Jumbo-Visma later decided to withdraw from the Team Pursuit, which takes place on Friday.

"For the third time in a row, I have not been able to seize gold in the men's 5,000-meter race at the World Single Distance Championships. That really sucks," Roest said after his race. It really hurts. I did not skate to my full potential but it was not too bad."

"Van der Poel just skated a very good race and even on a good day it would have been difficult for me to beat him. Today he skated faster than he did when the air pressure was lower. That says a lot. I felt good working towards the World Championships, but when I had started my race, I felt that it did not come as easy as it did at the World Cups. Hopefully, I can still show some great things in the upcoming days of the tournament."

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