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By taking bronze, Dai Dai N'tab won his first ever medal at the ISU World Single Distance Championships on Friday. Earlier on the day, the Dutch ladies and men both seized gold in the Team Pursuit at Thialf, Heerenveen.
N'tab faced Laurent Dubreuil (Canada) in the third-last pairing of the 500m. The 28-year-old Canadian finished ahead of N'tab: 34.39 versus 34.62. By doing so, Dubreuil won his first ever world title, while N'tab seized bronze. Reign world champion Pavel Kulizhnikov (Russia) took silver in 34.53. Team Jumbo-Visma speed skater Kai Verbij ended up in fourth place with a time of 34.67.
"I just won my first ever medal at the ISU World Single Distance Championships, so that makes me really happy," N'tab said afterwards. "Of course, I would rather have won, but Dubreuil skated a flawless race. Had I done that, I could have won here today, but I made a couple of mistakes in the beginning, and it is tough to fight against an early setback. Third place is good for now, as a stepping stone to next season."
"This was my most consistent season so far. In my last five international races, I ended up on the podium four times, so I am still really happy with my move to this team. The training schedule really works for me and with Kai, Hein and Thomas we have the best team of sprinters in the world. I am really looking forward to next season, the year of the Winter Olympics."
Earlier on Friday, the Dutch ladies and men both won a gold medal in the Team Pursuit. Team Jumbo-Visma speed skater Antoinette de Jong managed to beat main opponent Canada, along with Ireen Wüst and Irene Schouten: 2:55.79 versus 2:55.97. Russia seized bronze in 2:59.35. It was the sixth world title ever for the Dutch ladies.
"I think we did really well," De Jong said. "This was only the second time we skated in this line-up and we still have to get used to it. The pushing really helps. We were afraid to do it beforehand because we thought we might lose balance pushing, but it worked out well. My start was very bad and I thought I had messed up our train but we managed to keep it together and find the rest."
The Dutch men won the Team Pursuit for the twelfth time. Team Jumbo-Visma skaters Patrick Roest and Marcel Bosker skated together with Beau Snellink, who made his debut at the ISU World Single Distance Championships. The Dutch set a time of 3:41.42, finishing just ahead of Canada: 3:41.71. Russia also took bronze in the men's Team Pursuit with a time of 3:42.66.
"Show guts and have no fear. That was the key today," Bosker analyzed the performance of the Dutch. "This morning, we skated in this line-up for the first time, so we had nothing to lose today, we could only win. That is what we did. We skated very well and to be honest, it can only get better."