Sablikova retains 5,000m gold to break Dutch grip

Netherlands' Carien Kleibeuker competes in the Women's Speed Skating 5000 m at the Adler Arena...

Netherlands' Carien Kleibeuker competes in the Women's Speed Skating 5000 m at the Adler Arena during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 19, 2014. (AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC)

REUTERS

, Last Updated: 11:05 AM ET

Czech skater Martina Sablikova downed the Dutch by successfully defending the women's 5,000 metres speed skating title at the Sochi Olympics on Wednesday.

Sablikova clocked six minutes 51.54 seconds for her 12-and-a-half laps to edge Ireen Wust of Netherlands into the silver medal position by 2.74 seconds.

Carien Kleibeuker won bronze to take to 21 the number of medals won by Dutch speed skaters here, out of 30.

The 41-year-old German Claudia Pechstein finished fifth and failed to add to her record number of Olympic skating medals.

Sablikova, dubbed the "queen of skating" four years ago after winning the 3,000m and 5,000m titles in Vancouver, raced in the penultimate heat alongside Wust, who had won the shorter distance gold ahead of the Czech.

The 26-year-old Sablikova trailed Wust early on and had to adjust her glasses mid-skate, but she maintained her composure and eventually reined in the Dutchwoman with three laps left.

Wust, more proficient over the shorter distances, looked beaten as Sablikova powered to the finish line. They then sat and watched as the last pair, Pechstein and Dutchwoman Yvonne Nauta, struggled over the longest women's distance.

Sablikova punched the air in delight upon confirmation of her victory and skated off to a corner of the Adler Arena to acknowledge a pocket of passionate Czech fans.


Videos

Photos