Home favourite Ireen Wüst won her 500 metres and 3,000m events to establish a lead in the women’s allround classification after day one of the International Skating Union (ISU) European Speed Skating Championships at the Thialf Arena in Dutch town Heerenveen.
The four-time Olympic gold medallist firstly won the 500m, clocking a time of 39.26sec to finish ahead of fellow Dutchwoman Antoinette de Jong, the runner-up in 39.56, and Poland’s Natalia Czerwonka, who rounded out the podium in 39.85.
She then followed that up with success in the 3,000m, winning in 4:03.93 as Czech Republic's Martina Sáblíková, who beat Wüst to the top of last year’s final rankings, came second in 4:04.73 and De Jong completed the top three in 4:05.44.
Wüst, the winner of four out of the last 10 European allround titles, subsequently heads the classification on 79.915 points.
De Jong is 1.66 points behind in second, while Sáblíková is 3.16 off the pace in third.
There was also success for The Netherlands in the men’s 500m and 1,000m sprint events as Ronald Mulder and Kjeld Nuis triumphed respectively.
Olympic bronze medallist Mulder clocked a time of 34.87 to hold off Russia’s Ruslan Murashov, second in 34.88, and Germany’s Nico Ihle, third in 34.95.
Meanwhile, Nuis finished in 1:08.77 to condemn compatriot Kai Verbij to second place in 1:09.01.
Norway’s Haavard Lorentzen came third in 1:09.23.
Verbij heads the men’s sprint classification on 69.485 points, followed by Ihle, 0.19 behind, and then Lorentzen, 0.29 back.
The 2017 ISU European Speed Skating Championships had initially been due to take place in Warsaw but were relocated to Heerenveen in October following problems at the Stegny Oval venue in Poland’s capital.
Unlike the World Cup, in which skaters race for single distance titles, performances in four distances add up to the final ranking.
The men’s sprint and women’s allround tournaments are due conclude tomorrow, while the men’s allround and women’s sprint tournaments are scheduled to begin tomorrow and end on Sunday (January 8).