The world championships in beijing canceled as an olympic test, no world cups this year: now the german speed skaters live on the hope of the "bubble" of heerenveen.
"The doubts and the restlessness became more and more rough. At last we have a fixed point to work towards again," said the new head coach, who was only appointed on 24 september. September appointed new head coach jenny wolf tells german press agency her feelings.
The fixed point, that is the european championships on the 16./17. January in heerenveen with two subsequent world cups on the following weekends at the same location. Due to the strict hygiene regulations – a required three-week stay of the athletes with the commute exclusively between hotel and thialf arena – and further increasing infection figures, however, there are still doubts about the staging of the event. The danger of a non-competitive winter does not seem to have disappeared for the speed skaters.
"I like the model with the security bubble in heerenveen. But it only makes sense if we can be absolutely sure that the health of the athletes is not at risk," said the DESG's sports representative, nadine seidenglanz. After the announcement of the previous sports director, matthias kulik, she has taken over his tasks in the sports area. "If we had positive traps in such competitions, speed skating wouldn't come out of the crisis," she fears.
Nevertheless, there is no trace of despair among the german top runners. "I'm grateful that i can train without any major restrictions," said world championship bronze medalist patrick beckert, who is one of the few german hopes for an olympic medal in 2022 in beijing. Together with his brother pedro, the 30-year-old reels off his daily program in the erfurt ice rink. "The only thing that's different is that i'm not flying around the world to the world cups," says the athlete from thuringia, who takes the difficult situation in stride. "I always take a positive approach and accept what I can't change."
He does not yet know whether the races will take place in january. "Health is above everything. For me it's important that I'm in top form at the original time of the world championships in february – then I'll know: I'm on the right course for the olympics."And he confirms: "I have no motivation problems". He even travelled to heerenveen by private car to avoid the risk of infection.
Claudia pechstein sees it differently. "This is one disaster season. When you train but are not allowed to compete with the best in the world, your self-motivation reaches previously unknown limits," she told the deutsche presse-agentur. But she has not given up hope that competitions can still be held in this crisis situation.
The association hopes to overcome the situation as far as possible without further corona incidents, after two positive tests at the beginning of the season. "The positive traps in inzell were a shock at first. But we reacted quickly and got the situation under control," said nadine seidenglanz, adding, "the current situation is a rough challenge for us all." But thanks to a sars cov 2 task force, the association considers itself prepared.
Before the planned training sessions in november and december, corona tests will be taken, negative results are also a prerequisite for the start at the races at the beginning of january, where the team for the "bubble" is to emerge.
However, five-time world champion jenny wolf already hinted that the team would travel to heerenveen with a rough team and that the standard times would be adapted to the often difficult training situation. "The hollanders are trying everything to make competitions happen, but it is very difficult for athletes from the USA, canada and asia to participate because of the exit regulations," admitted nadine seidenglanz.