Speed skating: Gooch finishes with a golden double

Nicky Gooch is primed and ready to launch himself at Olympic glory in Nagano next month.

The British champion shot back to form at the European short track championships in Budapest yesterday, winning the 1,000 metre title and playing the crucial anchor role in Britain's triumphant relay team.

Gooch has been laid low with a viral infection for the past fortnight and had to summon all his efforts just to make it to the start line.

"I felt very tired this morning and am surprised I did so well," he said. "I'm on the road to recovery and all the aspects of my skating I wanted in place before the games are there. There are two weeks to go before I race and I am raring to get into my training."

Gooch's victory was all the sweeter for coming in the 1,000 metres, one of only two Olympic distances.

"If I chose to win a distance this would be it," he admitted. "My tactics were spot on and my time was good as well."

Gooch's championship had got off to a bad start on Saturday when he was disqualified in the quarter-finals of the 500m.

The British No 1 had twice been close to beating the world sprint record during the heats and started the quarter-final from the ideal outside draw. Despite his advantage, he made an awful start and allowed his rivals to streak away. Gooch tried in vain to catch up but was disqualified for pushing. He then saw his Dutch rival, Dave Verstegg, win gold in a world record time.

Debbie Palmer was also among the honours yesterday, finishing second in the 3,000m to push herself up to fifth in the overall classification.

Palmer failed to qualify for next month's Olympics and considered retiring after seven seasons among the world elite.

"Everyone is talking about Nagano and yet I won't be going. I've been very down this week but I feel a lot better after today," Palmer said. "Missing the games was the biggest blow in my career and I still have not quite come to terms with it.

"Like Nicky, I've been suffering with a heavy cold, so to finish second was a great result."

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...