Three British skaters will feature at a World Speed Skating Championships for the first time in a generation this weekend. Cornelius Kersten, Ellia Smeding and Gemma Cooper will all race in the final event of the ISU Heerenveen bubble taking place from 11th-14th Feb. The men’s 1000m, women’s 1000m and women's mass start are scheduled to go ahead on Saturday 13th, meaning the entire GBR squad will be in action.
Kersten who will compete in both the 1000m and 1500m is coming into the weekend having won gold in the 1000m World Cup B-Division just two weeks ago. He also set a new British record in the 1500m, beating the time he set in Calgary last year. “I’m very excited for the weekend as racing at World Championships is always special,” he said. “My legs are feeling good and the ice is feeling fast so I’m hoping for a top 20 finish and a new personal best,” the British record holder added.
Gemma Cooper, who races in the mass start, produced an impressive display in the second World Cup finishing 11th, just missing out on a top 10 place. The women’s 1000m will get underway at 14:13 GMT on Saturday with Ellia Smeding coming into the race off the back of a 6th and 9th place finish in the B-Division World Cup races.
All three of the squad have been in a competition bubble for over three weeks after competing at two ISU World Cups. In this unrecognisable season the World Speed Skating Championships will be the climax of the Heerenveen bubble. Skaters have been in a bio-secure bubble restricted to their hotel and Thialf stadium with some time allowed outside for exercise.
You can watch coverage of the entire Championships on Eurosport.
14:10 - Team Pursuit Ladies
14:33 - Team Pursuit Men
15:13 - 500m Men
15:56 - 500m Ladies
12:48 - Mass Start Semi-Final 1 - Ladies
13:03 - Mass Start Semi-Final 2 - Ladies
13:34 - Mass Start Semi-Final 1 - Men
13:47 - Mass Start Semi-Final 2 - Men
14:13 - 1000m Ladies
15:02 - 1000m Men
15:54 - Mass Start Final Ladies
16:11 - Mass Start Final Men
11:35 - 1500m Ladies
12:32 - 1500m Men
13:28 - 5000m Ladies
14:35 - 10000m Men