Estonian speed skater Marten Liiv reached his career-best position in Division A, finishing sixth in the 1000 m finals in an ISU World Cup round in Heerenveen. He also took part in the 500 m final, but came in last at 19th.
Liiv, who holds the Estonian record for 1000m (1:08.420) posted a time of 1:08.515 in Sunday's final, 1.16 seconds behind first-place finisher Dutchman Kai Verbij.
The top three were rounded out by Dutchman Thomas Krol (+0.22) and Canadian skater Laurent Dubreuil (+0.83). In total, 19 skaters took part in the final race.
While his 1000m time of 1:08.515 is not an Estonian record, it is Liiv's best result in European competition. The 24-year old Estonian seems built for the elite Division A. "I felt good, luckily I was able to experience it last week as well. The main goal was to do the things I have to do," Liiv told ERR.
On Saturday, Liiv renewed his Estonian record in the 500m with a time of 34.915 seconds, good enough for 14th among the 20 participants. Liiv's performance in Sunday's final however was not up to his recent form, posting a time of 35.625 seconds and finishing 19th, last in the Division A race.
"I did well in the 500 meters in my first day, that came as a surprise to me too. Going from 35.12 seconds (his previous record - ed) to 34.91 seconds is a big step. Unfortunately the 500 was not succesful the second day, there was a mistake on the curve, I veered off a little. I was on two feet for a moment and I tried saving what I could. That is how it went unfortunately," Liiv said.
"Perhaps it fits me that 500 m comes before the 1000 m, then I can get myself going for the 1000 m. At the same time, I have to focus 100 percent for both. I have achieved a stability that we have discussed with my coach and that makes me happy," the skater said.
When looking at the 500 m results from this season, Liiv is about 0.3 seconds behind the best of the best. Could that gap be closed? "It is still possible to develop 100 m, although I have taken quite a leap. My starts last season were rather stable at 10.00-10.02 seconds, now I have gotten it under 9.90 seconds. As far as I know, the fastest start is 9.86, many guys have done 9.87 and 9.88. It comes with work, but there is some space still. I think I am still more of a 1000 m skater," Liiv said.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste