sport

Wust brings home gold for Holland

Irene Wust thrilled the watching Dutch royalty by winning the women's 3000 metres speed skating gold medal at the Winter Olympics.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima, the Dutch royal couple, were among a healthy Orange contingent within the Adler Arena Skating Center in Sochi to see the 27-year-old fly to victory with a time of four minutes 0.34 seconds.

At the age of 19, Wust, who lives in Heerenveen, won the gold medal over the same distance in the 2006 Games in Turin, making her the youngest Dutch Winter Olympic champion in history.

And in the penultimate of 14 races on Sunday, she showed time had not diminished her hunger for success as she sped away from Japan's Shiho Ishiwaza with power, pace and grace, rocking the 8,000-capacity arena to its newly-built foundations.

Wust had been put under pressure in the previous race by Czech Republic's Martina Sablikova, who won gold at the Vancouver Olympics four years ago and looked impressive in recording 4:01.95, although she had to be content with silver.

Earlier, Russia's Olga Graf gave the enthusiastic home support something to cheer about when she took the lead with a personal best of 4:03.47 which was ultimately enough to take bronze, for which she received rapturous applause at the medal ceremony.

Olympic record holder Claudia Pechstein was not at her best, however.

The 41-year-old from Germany medalled in the 1992, 1994,1998 and 2002 Games and added two more medals in Turin four years later, making her the first speed skater to win medals across five Winter Games, including five golds.

However, a time of 4:05.26 saw her finish in fourth place in Sochi.