After the outdoor rink of Oulunkylä Sport Park in Helsinki last year, this year’s ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships will be held at the superfast high-altitude Utah Olympic Oval in Salt Lake City. The skaters have had enough time to familiarize with the track, because the ISU Junior World Cup Speed Skating final was held on the same oval last week. In the ladies’ World Junior Championships Jutta Leerdam (NED) will defend her Allround title and in the men’s tournament Chris Huizinga’s Allround title is up for grabs since the Dutchman went to the senior ranks after last season.
Allround, single distances, Mass Start and Teams
The ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships combine separate distance World Titles and Allround titles for both Men and Ladies. The Men’s Allround Title goes to the skater with the lowest total of points after adding up the 500m, 1000m, 1500m and 5000m. The Ladies’ Allround Title is for the best skater in the combined 500m, 1000m, 1500m and 3000m.
Apart from the separate distance and Allround titles, both the Junior Men and the Ladies’ will compete for a Mass Start World Title and two team competitions. The Team sprint is a race over three laps and the Team Pursuit is a race over 8 laps for the Men and 6 laps for the Ladies. National teams always consist of three skaters.
Only skaters who have not reached the age of 19 by July 1, 2017 are eligible to compete in this year’s ISU World Junior Speed Skating Championships.
Sanne In 't Hof, Joy Beune and Jutta Leerdam (NED)
Dutch ladies favorite
Jutta Leerdam grabbed last year’s Allround title, with compatriots Joy Beune and Sanne In 't Hof seizing silver and bronze respectively. The latter moved on to the senior ranks, but both Leerdam and Beune will be present again. Leerdam won the 1000m and the Beune the 3000m at last weeks World Cup final. Karuna Koyama (JPN) and Karolina Bosiek (POL) are also looking at Allround silverware. The Japanese lady came second in the 3000m and took third in the 1500m, while the Polish girl came fourth in the 3000m and second in the 1500m.
The Dutch ladies are favorite for the Team Pursuit title, in which Leerdam, Beune and Elisa Dul set a new world junior record in 3:02.72 at last week’s World Cup final.
Håvard Holmefjord Lorentzen (NOR)
After Norway’s PyeongChang Olympic medal rush with Håvard Holmefjord Lorentzen, Sverre Lunde Pedersen and the Team Pursuit, the Scandinavian country has another prodigy lined up. Allan Dahl Johansson could well be their champion of the future. The Norwegian youngster took last year’s Allround silver and he broke his own 3000m junior world record in the 3000m in Salt Lake City when he stopped the clock at 3:40.14 last week. He also won the 1500m in 1:44.48. In the short distances Jae-Woong Chung is the man to beat. The Korean sprinter won last week’s 500m in 34.83 and he skated a 1000m junior world record in 1.08,11.