(Reuters) – World record holder Kjeld Nuis confirmed his return to form in the 1,500 metres by winning gold at the European Speed Skating Championships on Sunday, giving himself a confidence boost ahead of his Olympic title defence at the Beijing Winter Games.
The 32-year-old crossed the line in one minute, 43.608 seconds to take the gold medal in Heerenveen, the Netherlands ahead of compatriot and world champion Thomas Krol and Allan Dahl Johansson of Norway.
Nuis had also dominated the event at the Dutch trials last week to make up for some lacklustre displays in this season’s World Cup races.
“I’ve been insecure about the 1,500m after those World Cup series,” Nuis, who also won Olympic gold in the 1,000m at Pyeongchang, said on Sunday.
“I think Krol too, but he at least had a decent one in Salt Lake City and I was really at my wits’ end there. I doubted my stamina, everything.
“To skate two good ones in a row gives me so much confidence,” he added. “This is my first European title, my first international title in two years. I’m really stoked.”
The Netherlands won 11 gold medals from 14 races at the championships, including victories in the women’s team pursuit and women’s 1,000m.
The Winter Olympics run from Feb. 4-20.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)