Official didn’t apologise to maligned speedskater

Official didn't apologise to maligned speedskater
Photo: DPA
The vice president of the International Skating Union (ISU) has denied telling German speed skater Claudia Pechstein that he was sorry for her two-year suspension from competition that forced her to miss the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Pechstein had told the German newspaper Die Welt that the official, Jan Dijkema, told her that, “he was very sorry about what happened and regrets it but he was unable to do anything about it.”

Pechstein was suspended from competition three years ago on allegations of blood doping based on circumstantial evidence, though she never had a positive test. The controversial ban forced her to miss the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. She returned to the speed skating circuit last year.

When asked about Pechstein’s statements Dijkema, an ISU official from the Netherlands, told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that they were “absurd” and that Pechstein’s statements were not true.

The news came as Pechstein lost her top position Saturday in the European Speed Skating Championship’s combined event. She is now fighting for a third place medal.

In the wind-plagued 1500-meter course in Hungary, where the competition is being held, Pechstein fell back to fourth, while defending champion Martina Sablikova, from the Czech Republic took over the top spot. She is seeking her fourth European title.

Holland’s Ireen Wüst was second. One event – the 5,000-meter – remains and is scheduled for Sunday.

The Local/DPA/mw

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