With only one place in the 5000 meters during the Winter Olympics in Beijing, Saturday’s dress rehearsal during the European Championships in the Netherlands was fateful. Now the man who took bronze in the distance during the last Olympics is clear that he will not get the opportunity again this time.
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– Today’s race leaves no doubt. We showed about it in advance and he delivered a very strong race. I did not have the chance.
Sverre Lunde Pedersen tells VG about teammate Hallgeir Engebråten from the hotel room in the Netherlands.
For on Saturday’s 5000 meters during the European Championship individual distances in Thialf, 22-year-old Engebråten clinched a bronze medal – and secured an Olympic ticket for the distance after all sun marks.
– We were quite clear that we used the European Championships as an intact for that distance to the Olympics. It is barely a few weeks until the distance goes, so it was to see form development when we were in the situation where we only have one place, says Sports and Development Manager Lasse Sætre to VG.
– No real fight
Sætre will not confirm that it will be Engebråten who gets to walk the distance, but teammate Pedersen is clear that it must be the young boy.
– It was a battle for the one place we have in 5000 meters, so in the end there was no doubt about who gets it. Hallgeir did a great race and gets involved among the medal candidates for the Olympics, says Pedersen, who took bronze in the distance during the Olympics in Pyeongchang.
In the 5000 meters won by Dutchman Patrick Roest, the two Norwegians were 7.32 seconds apart. Engebråten clocked 6.13.67, while Pedersen clocked in at 6.20.99.
– Of course I’m disappointed tonight. There was no real fight against Hallgeir, says Pedersen and continues:
– My ambition is to be at the top and today the top is 7-9 seconds away, so it’s way too much in a 5000 meters. The clock does not lie, I get some very good comparisons, it’s a long way off.
The team pace will probably be the only exercise Pedersen does in Beijing, because even though he could have been relevant in the 1500 meters, he also writes off that distance.
And where Pedersen had a bad day, Engebråten had one of his best.
– Today it was fun to go ice skating. Absolutely amazing to be able to set a speed I felt was pretty cheap the first five laps and then just float there. Then it was just working when it started to hurt. Absolutely magical, Engebråten told Viaplay after the race.