Germany’s Friesinger skates to new track record

Anni Friesinger of Germany claimed a new track record in Nagano, Japan on her way to regaining the women's 1,500 metre title at the world speed skating single distance championships on Thursday.

Germany's Friesinger skates to new track record
Photo: dpa

Friesinger, usually a 1,000 metre specialist, clocked one minute 56.06 seconds to beat Paulien van Deutekom of The Netherlands into second with 1:57.36 and World Cup champion Kristina Groves of Canada into third in 1:57.63. Her time beats a 10-year world record by 1:52.

“It was really a difficult race. I felt that 1,500 metres are longer, but it was really a good race,” said Friesinger, the winner of the distance in 1998, 2001, 2003 and 2004.

“I didn’t expect that I was so much faster than the runner-up and the ice was difficult to skate. I didn’t skate as a sprinter, I skated as a long-distance skater and I was satisfied with my technique, which was good.

“I can skate on all kinds of ice quality because I have a long experience. Now I’m very optimistic for the next distance of 1,000 metres.”

Friesinger has twice won the 1,500 metre in the seven-race World Cup series and eight out of 10 races in her favourite 1,000 metre race this season.


German football fans get green light to return to stadiums next season

Bundesliga clubs and other German sports venues will be allowed to welcome up to 25,000 spectators from next month, the city of Berlin said Tuesday after a meeting of officials from Germany's 16 states.

German football fans get green light to return to stadiums next season
Germany fans at the recent Euro 2020 match in London. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christian Charisius

Most matches in Germany’s top football league were played behind closed doors last season – so-called Geisterspiele or ghost games – because of the Covid-19 virus.

The new Bundesliga season starts on August 13th and with infection rates having fallen sharply, sports stadiums could be at 50 percent capacity, with the total number per match or event capped at 25,000.

The only exception is reigning Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, where up to 20,000 fans will be allowed into home games at the 75,000-capacity Allianz Arena because officials in Bavaria are allowing only 35 percent of capacity.

The new rules apply until September 11 and amid concerns in Germany about the Delta variant of the coronavirus, incidence rates must not exceed 35 new infections per 100,000 people over the previous seven days.

READ ALSO: German states call for uniform Covid rules at big events

If that happens, and “the infection cannot be clearly contained”, a maximum of 5,000 spectators will be allowed into sports events, German officials warned.

Only fans who can prove they are vaccinated or present a negative test will be allowed into stadiums and hygiene rules must be followed.

An easing of the regulations meant crowds of around 14,000 were allowed to attend Euro 2020 matches at Munich’s Allianz Arena over the last three weeks, but fans were largely kept out of German league games last season.