After Miho Takagi (JPN) had won the ladies' ISU World Sprint title, Tatsuya Shinhama (JPN) followed his compatriot's footsteps taking the men's in Hamar on Saturday. The 23-year-old sprinter was the first male skater from Japan to win the title since Akira Kuroiwa in 1987, and Japan is the first country to take both the men's and ladies' sprint titles in the same year since Korea's Lee Kyou-hyuk and Lee Sang-hwa in 2010. Laurent Dubreuil (CAN) came second to take the first male Canadian World Sprint medal since Jeremy Wotherspoon in 2008 and Cha Min Kyu (KOR) seized bronze.
In the men's Allround tournament, defending champion Patrick Roest (NED) took a first-day lead over home favorite Sverre Lunde Pedersen (NOR) and Seitaro Ichinohe (JPN).
Tatsuya Shinhama (JPN, centre), Laurent Dubreuil (CAN, left) and Cha Min Kyu (KOR, right) | 2020 © International Skating Union (ISU)
Sprint 500m: Shinhama expands margin
Tatsuya Shinhama (JPN) and Laurent Dubreuil (CAN) started the second day of their battle for the World Sprint title against each other in the final pairing of the second 500m, with the Japanese leader of the ranking coming out on top.
Shinhama stopped the clock at 34.39, just 0.08 outside the 2008 track record set by Jeremy Wotherspoon (CAN). Dubreuil managed to control the damage, but still conceded 0.17 setting 34.56. The Canadian faced a 0.79 second gap towards Shinhama in the final 1000m.
Cha Min Kyu (KOR) edged out Yamato Matsui (JPN) to climb to third place after the third of four distances. The Korean set 34.72 to come third in the second 500m with the Japanese podium contender finishing fourth in 34.90. Cha and Matsui were more than a second behind in the concluding 1000m, with the Korean having an 0.15 second margin over his Japanese rival.
Sprint 1000m: Dubreuil puts pressure on
In the 1000m Kjeld Nuis (NED) made amends for a poor outing on Friday, coming first in 1:08.38. It was too little, too late for the Dutchman, who ended up seventh in the ranking.
Dubreuil skated in the penultimate pairing and entered the rink with confidence and doubt at the same time. He said: "I had a really good [second] 500m so I was clear from [dropping to] third, fourth or fifth, but then it's a long two hours and you think: don't fall or don’t screw up…"
The Canadian did anything but screw up. With 1:08.39 he only fell short of Nuis' time by 0.01, with only Shinhama and Cha yet to come in the final pairing.
"I tried not to be defensive," Dubreuil said. "I did a great race and put the pressure on Tatsuya [Shinhama]."
Dubreuil even thought he might win the title for a moment during Shinhama's race.
"After 600m [into Shinhama's race] I saw his time on the screen and his lead was shrinking, but then his last 200m was really good. He really flipped it back on."
Shinhama clocked 1:08.71 to come third in the 1000m, securing the title with a 0.235 point lead over Dubreuil.
Cha took fourth place in the 1000m with 1:08.73, to keep Kai Verbij (NED) at bay for the bronze medal.
Shinhama said: "I was surprised. I did not expect this. I came here to win the 500m, maybe. Honestly, I cannot believe this."
Shinhama's coach Johan de Wit (NED) had seen it coming though.
"He [Shinhama] can skate a good 1000m too, he's shown that last year already. This season he did not skate too many 1000m races. He was a bit overtrained and not good at the national championships in December.
"After that he's just done easy cycling, and he slowly recovered. This [winning the World Sprint title] doesn't surprise me at all."
Patrick Roest (NED) | YYYY © International Skating Union (ISU)
Allround: Pedersen rides on waves of home crowd but Roest in pole position
Inspired by compatriots Takagi and Shinhama, Seitaro Ichinohe (JPN) started the men's
Allround tournament winning the 500m in 36.17 seconds.
Canadian youngster Tyson Langelaar (CAN) came second in the 500m and Shane Williamson (JPN) third.
Whereas Langelaar and Williamson dropped in the ranking after the 5000m, Ichinohe stayed in contention for the podium clocking 6:24.63 for eighth place in the second distance.
Ichinohe will start the final day in third place, 2.04 seconds behind defending champion Patrick Roest (NED) in the 1500m, and 0.97 seconds behind home favorite Sverre Lunde Pedersen.
Roest bounced back from a poor display at the World Single Distance Championships in Salt Lake City two weeks ago, when he did not manage to take any silverware.
"I feel a bit relieved, that it works and that I can do it. I was not really satisfied with my 500m (seventh in 36.52), and I was a bit nervous about my 5000m beforehand.
"I went in cautiously, and I noticed that it went a lot better [than in Salt Lake City] and was able to keep moving without being strained."
Roest won the 5000m in 6:14.35, with Pedersen coming second in 6:19.40. The Norwegian has been struggling for most of the season after a bike crash in September. Riding thee waves of an enthusiastic sold-out Vikingskipet, he finally found his groove.
"It's been a tough season, but now my body feels better," he said. I'm doing my best races of the season here and the home crowd gave me a lot of energy. I really enjoyed it and I appreciate the support."
To take the title Pedersen has to make up 0.365 points in the ranking, which equals 1.07 seconds in the 1500m.
Pedersen doesn't give up easily though: "It will be really difficult, but there's still two races to go."
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