Mid-season bulletin in short track: the Netherlands ~ Passion/Patin/Vitesse - Passion/Speed/Skating


30 décembre 2018

Mid-season bulletin in short track: the Netherlands

In this installment of our mid-season bulletin series in short track, it’s now time to talk about the Netherlands.

By Carl Savard
Photo by Danny Kim

The team trained by Jeroen Otter is probably the best overall Dutch team in the history of short track. The women especially, started the season with some great results.

The Olympic effect
It’s quite clear when you look at the results of Dutch female leaders Suzanne Schulting and Yara van Kerkhof that their Olympic experience had quite an impact when it comes to their confidence. While she was known to be a bit of a kamikaze on the ice, Schulting started being more disciplined last season and the change culminated in an Olympic championship after a flawless course on 1000m during the Games. It’s with the same energy that she started this new season gathering three gold medals on 1000m securing her domination on the distance. The twenty-one-year-old athlete also added gold and silver medals on 1500m and a silver one on 500m in Salt Lake City in the second leg of the World cup season. Schulting also helped the Netherlands win two silver medals in the mix relay event and one gold in the female relay in Almaty. The Queen of 1000m has just been crowned female athlete of the year in the Netherlands. A well deserved honor.

The 2017-18 season was also a year of revelations for Yara van Kerkhof who finally realised she could be a force to be reckoned with. Believing in herself has brought her all the way up to a silver medal on 500m in Pyeongchang. A medal that gave her wings. Even though she won only one individual medal in the first three events of the World cup season, a silver on 500m in Calgary, she also finished in the top 5 three more times and she looks confident on the ice. Rianne de Vries who fractured an ankle in 2017 seems to be back in top form. She finished 4th three times this fall and offered solid performances in the relay events. The aura of confidence surrounding the Dutch team seems to have given some punch to Lara van Ruijven also. The twenty-six-year-old skater won her first individual gold medal on the World cup circuit on 500m in Calgary. Even though Avalon Aardoom was probably hoping for more, the 1500m specialist could eventually surprise considering the quality of athletes and coaches surrounding her at this stage of her career.

Some instability on the man’s side
Hard to take the same approach to talk about the men has their individual results are linked to only one skater but they did great teamwise. Out of Sjinkie Knegt, Daan Breeuwsma, Dennis Visser, Itzhak de Laat and Jasper Brunsmann, only Knegt climbed on an individual podium so far this season. The 2015 world champion won gold on 1500m in Salt Lake City, won silver on 1000m in Almaty and added a fourth place finish on 1500m also in Almaty. De Laat, Breeuwsma and Emons were able to reach B finals a few times. In mix relay events, Breeuwsma and Knegt helped the team win silver medals in Calgary and Salt Lake City while the men’s relay team won bronze in Calgary and climbed on the highest step of the podium in Almaty. Although Sjinkie Knegt suffered an injury at home a few weeks ago that may slow him down in the future, the Dutch team still is a strong unit.

Next stop for the Dutch skaters? The European championships at home in Dordrecht starting on the 11th of January. After that, the World cup season will continue in Dresden, Germany on February 1st to 3rd before concluding in Torino, Italy on the weekend of February 8th to 10th.

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