The ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships 2014 will open in Bjugn, Norway on March 7. The ISU Junior World Cup Speed Skating Final also took place in Bjugn the previous week. 137 young skaters from 20 ISU members have been entered for the Championships. There are several titles up for grabs during these Championships, the single distances titles and the prestigious allround title which will be awarded to the strongest skater after four distances. Single distance world titles are given for the 500m, 1000m, 1500m, as well as the 3000m for ladies and 5000m for men and the Team Pursuit. The distances that contribute to the allround points are the 500, 1000, 1500 and 3000m for the Ladies and the 500, 1500, 3000 and 5000m for the Men.
Reigning 1000 m World Junior Champion Vanessa Bittner (AUT) will defend her title along with 2013 Allround silver medalist Antoinette de Jong (NED). The Dutch Ladies did well in the Junior World Cup and will have a strong team at the World Junior Championships with Sanneke de Neeling, Bente van den Berge, Jade van der Molen and Melissa Wijfje who won three World Cups this season. Russia’s Elizaveta Kazelina and Sofie Karoline Haugen (NOR) have also had a good season so far and could be a medal contenders.
The Netherlands have a strong team who did well in the Junior World Cup this season. Dai Dai Ntab won the 500m Junior World Cup, Arvin Wijsman the 1000m, Patrick Roest got the 3000m, Kai Verbij won the Junior World 1000m silver medal in 2013. Armin Hager (AUT) got the Junior World Cup Mass Start title and others to look out for are Piotr Michalski (POL), Nils van der Poel (SWE) and Johann Jørgen Sæves (NOR). Emery Lehman (USA), the 2013 5000m world junior Champion, will also defend his title in Bjugn.
The schedule of the ISU World Junior Short Track Championships 2014 is as follows:
Friday, March 7: Ladies/Men 500 m first race and Allround), 1500 m Ladies, 3000 m Men allround Saturday, March 8: 500 m Men (2nd race), 1000 m Ladies, 1500 m Men, 3000 m Ladies, 5000 m Men Sunday, March 9: 500 m Ladies (2nd race), 1000 m Men, Team Pursuit Ladies (Qualifying), Team Pursuit Men (Qualifying), Team Pursuit Ladies (finals), Team Pursuit Men (finals)