The 2011/2012 Junior World Cup Speed Skating Series concluded with the Final in Obihiro (JPN) on March 9 and 10. The Series took the best junior skaters around the world with stops in Erfurt (GER), Bjugn (NOR), Astana (KAZ), Collalbo (ITA) Calgary (CAN) and finally in Obihiro. Points were accumulated throughout the season, the ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships that took place in Obihiro a week before the Junior World Cup Final, also contributed to the World Cup points. In both the ladies’ and men’s field, the World Cups were divided between Dutch and Korean skaters.
Although Karolina Erbanová (CZE) won most of her 500m races, she competed at the Essent ISU World Cup Speed Skating Final (senior) in Berlin and Letitia de Jong (NED) took the opportunity to get just enough points in Obihiro to overtake Erbanová. De Jong won with 371 points, only one point more than Erbanová. Tatyana Karannikova from Russia finished third with 349 points.
Antoinette de Jong (NED) established her first position in the 1000m by finishing second behind Hyun-Yung Kim in Obihiro. She wins with 290 points, Letitia de Jong was second with 263 and Kim follows with 190. Despite her two Junior World Cup records in Calgary (CAN) set on the two short distances at 38.96 and 1:17.07, Canadian skater Kate Hanly finished sixth.
In the 1500m, Dutch skater Pien Keulstra took the win with 450 points, as she won the first and the last race. Do-Yeong Park (KOR) finished second with 370, followed by Nana Takagi (JPN).
In the 3000m, the last race in Obihiro was decisive with Keulstra and Park being so close. Park had set a new Junior World Cup record a week earlier with 4:08:48, which gave her the edge and she won the final race. Therefore Park won with 390, Keulstra had to settle for second with 370 points and Takagi was third.
Park also took the World Cup in the Mass start, where she got the maximum amount of points; 300. Vanessa Bittner (AUT) finished second with 240 points and Antoinette de Jong overtook Keulstra by 5 points gaining a total of 133 points and climbing the third step of the podium.
Team Korea won the Team Pursuit during both events that took place in Obihiro (Juniors World Championships and Junior World Cup) and consequently won the Cup with 310 points. In both races Team Korea set a Junior World Cup record time of 3:06.54. With 280 points Team Japan finished second while the Netherlands won the first race back in Erfurt, they did not finish one of the races in Obihiro and finished third in the other totalling 205 points.
In the men’500m, the fight for first place was exciting until the end. The battle was between Korean skater Woo-Jin Kim and Tsubasa Hasegawa from Japan. But in the end Kim was 0.00.01 faster than Hasegawa and therefore took the Cup with 630 points. Had Hasewaga won the race he would have totalled 600 points and been equal with Kim, this however was not to be, and the Japanese skater finished second with 570 points. Tommi Pulli from Finland finished third with 416 points overtaking Pavel Kulizhnikov who ended with 331 points.
In the 1000m Kim and Pulli were placed in the same place as in the 500m, Kim had 350 points and Pulli 240. Thomas Krol (NED) finished second with 250 points. Krol had 30 points more than Pulli in the last race, which made the difference.
Thomas Krol won the 1500m World Cup with 339 points closely followed by Jin-Su Kim with 325 points and Fan Yang (CHN) was third with 262, overtaking Kai Verbij (NED) in the final race.
Sverre Lunde Pedersen (NOR) has consistently been the fastest junior skater on the long distances this season and is the only Man to set a new Junior World Cup record with a time of 6:35.03 (during the ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships). Lunde Pedersen is also the male record holder in distance victories in the Junior World Cup history; this season he has a total of 10 victories which includes 6 wins in the 1500m. However Lunde Pedersen also competed in the senior World Cups this season and was absent during the Final. This made the Junior Cup available to other contenders and it is Dutch skater Thomas Krol who grabbed the win with 310 points. Swedish skater David Andersson was the runner up with 265 points who overtook Fan Yang who ended third with 261 points.
Kai Verbij from the Netherlands won the Men’s Mass with 235 points. Fan Yang was not far behind with 205 finishing second and with 130 Jin-Yeong Lee (KOR) was third.
The Men’s Team Pursuit was similar to the Ladies’ Team Pursuit. Team Korea won the last race overtaking Dutch Team. Team Korea accumulated 300 points, the Netherlands 290 and China took the bronze with 230.
It is the fourth season that the ISU Junior World Cup Speed Skating series took place. The series is supported by the ISU Development Program and the Prize Money was awarded to the skaters who finished on the podium in the final ranking.