Skaters must grab Beijing's last starting spots in Calgary

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Skaters must grab Beijing’s last starting spots in Calgary

Photo: ANP

After three of the four World Cup competitions, the Dutch skaters are not yet certain of the maximum number of starting places for the Olympic Games on all distances. “Especially the second starting place on the mass start for the men will be exciting,” explains technical director Remy de Wit of the skating association KNSB.

The rankings of the World Cup determine how many skaters the Netherlands may send to Beijing. If the skaters do not achieve the maximum number of starting places in all disciplines, TeamNL may not send the highest number of nine men and nine women to the Games.

The mass start also counts. Bart Hoolwerf did not make the finals at the two World Cup competitions and is currently 24th. A place in the top 24 is necessary for two drivers to start in Beijing. If that fails, the Netherlands may immediately send only eight skaters to China. “There is certainly pressure on that,” says De Wit. “He has to drive well in Calgary. And if our second man who starts there (Kars Jansman) makes it to the final, that will probably be enough.”

Before the World Cup race in Calgary, the long track selection committee has calculated per distance which starting spots are certain and which are not yet. “We have built an algorithm that makes a prognosis for all drivers, which includes the preconditions and almost all possible scenarios for the World Cup in Calgary,” explains De Wit.

For example, according to the KNSB, the chance that no three riders will finish in the top 20 in the 500 meters and 1500 meters in the men is so small that none of the top skaters is obliged to start in Calgary. Kai Verbij, Dai Dai N’tab and Merijn Scheperkamp are eighth, eleventh and twelfth in that classification and, according to the calculations, will remain in the top 20 despite their cancellation. The same goes for Patrick Roest who is fifteenth in the 1500 meters. Thomas Krol and Kjeld Nuis are in the top 10 there. De Wit: “There are always risks, but they are minimal. I think we will get through that.”

The calculations showed that the risk of the third starting place in the 3000 meters for the women was so great that the selection committee did not dare to release the third and fourth Dutch skater in that classification. “Joy Beune and Carlijn Achtereekte have taken their responsibility and will start, although that is not the ideal route for them to the Olympic qualifying tournament (OKT),” says De Wit. “If we reach our level, the risks are not that great. We have the delegation we need for that.”

According to De Wit, the risks are minimal on the 5000 and 10,000 meters, although they are always there. “Marwin Talsma will start in Calgary in the 5000 meters. He has to finish there.” Due to good performances by Roest, Jorrit Bergsma, Irene Schouten and Antoinette de Jong, the other starting places are certain.

Skaters must grab Beijing’s last starting spots in Calgary
Source link Skaters must grab Beijing’s last starting spots in Calgary

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