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Winter Olympics 2018: Dutch speed-skating coach Jillert Anema warned after attempts to fix race at Sochi Games

The Hague: A Dutch speed-skating coach was given a written warning after trying to fix a race at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014, reports and officials said Thursday.

The Dutch dominated speed skating in Sochi. Reuters

The Dutch dominated speed skating in Sochi. Reuters

The revelations about Jillert Anema, who is also the coach of Dutch star Jorrit Bergsma, came as the Dutch team on Thursday were competing in the 10,000 metres race in Pyeongchang Winter Games.

Four years ago, Anema was coaching the French team in Sochi and approached his Dutch counterpart to ask if the fearsome Dutch skaters could slow down in the first round of the pursuit, the daily Volkskrant reported.

Anema was worried "the French team would lose face and funds because one of the skaters was suffering from a thyroid disease. So he approached Arie Koops asking if his men could go easy, so the French wouldn't lose face," the paper said.

In return, Anema guaranteed that if one of the Dutch skaters fell, then France's Alexis Contin would take a tumble so the Dutch did not lose.

The Dutch Olympics Committee revealed on Thursday the request "was rejected out of hand" and reported to the head of mission in Sochi, Maurits Hendriks.

"The moment I heard about it, I knew this was against the values of the Olympics, and against the values of fair play and respect in all sports in general," Hendriks said in a statement on the committee's website Thursday.

Anema was sent a written warning in March 2014 by the committee, which said he "had broken the rules, the values and norms" of both the International and Dutch Olympics committees.

"For now we will leave it with that determination. We hope with this letter we have made the committee's views clear, and trust that this will not happen again in the future," said the letter, posted on the committee's website.

After sweeping the board in Sochi, the Dutch are again dominating the speed-skating record at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

But Bergsma lost out on Thursday seeking to defend his title after taking gold in the 10,000m in Sochi. He was beaten by Dutch-born Canadian Ted-Jan Bloemen and had to be content with silver.


Updated Date: Feb 16, 2018 09:38 AM

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