So there was a lot of tension this Friday evening, just like the relief after his race, when he had driven to victory in 34.79 seconds. “This is liberating. I was confident, but I didn’t want to make mistakes. And whether you are Sven Kramer, Dai Dai Ntab or whoever, that doesn’t matter. It remains exciting. This was the first real test of the season, the first ride that there is a lot to lose. ”
Ntab speaks from experience. He missed the Olympic Games earlier due to two false starts. And a year ago, at the World Cup Qualifying Tournament, he was angry and voiced strong criticism of the startling, in his opinion. He was fifth and missed the World Cup competitions. Winter followed in which the great sprint promise was behind the facts and the good feeling never returned. “It was the first season in which I did not develop further. It was a season in which I was not really myself. Physically not, not on the track, I skated uncomfortably. ”
This time Ntab made no mistake and is assured of participating in the first four World Cup races in Minsk (Belarus), Tomaszów (Poland), Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan) and Nagano (Japan). Kai Verbij, Ronald Mulder, Lennart Velema and Hein Otterspeer have also qualified. Olympic champion Kjeld Nuis, Michel Mulder and permanent value Jan Smeekens all left Thialf without a 500 meter starting permit.
Comeback Ter Mors
Among the women, triple Olympic champion Jorien ter Mors (29) proved to be the best in the 1500 meters. She finished in a time of 1.54.22. With that she referred Antoinette de Jong, the winner of last year, to the second place (1.54.98). Ireen Wüst was third with 1.55,09.
The other two tickets for the first world cups went to Melissa Wijfje and Reina Anema. Carlijn Achtereekte, Olympic champion in the 3000 meters, was the first loser as number six.
“This race felt good and strong,” said Ter Mors, who was out of action last season due to knee surgery. “I wasn’t so sure in advance, but luckily I had a good day.”