Speed Skating: Gooch's late rally takes the title: O'Reilly shows a clean pair of skates to his rivals on the Humberside ice

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The Independent Online
NICKY GOOCH, of the Aldwych club, became the new British speed-skating champion on the final day of the British championships at Humberside ice arena yesterday, writes Cathy Gibb.

Despite tying with last year's British champion, Matthew Jasper from Nottingham, Gooch won it on the deciding - and gruelling - 3,000 metres final.

The eight-times British champion, Wilf O'Reilly, who is now living and training in the Netherlands, was lying in second place on points before the 3,000m final.

Having won the 1,000m final and come second in the 500m final, he felt somewhat aggrieved that Jasper was not disqualified, having physically pulled O'Reilly down before crossing the line spreadeagled.

In the women's section, Debbie Palmer, from Aldwych, retained her British title with the greatest of ease, winning all three finals - the 1500m final in 3min 00.11sec, the 1,000m in 1min 50.00sec and the 500m in 50.28sec. As a sporting gesture, the spectating Karen Briggs, the British judo champion for 12 years, five- times European champion and four- times world champion, presented Palmer with her 500m gold medal.

An amazing comeback was made by Birmingham's 1983 and 1988 British champion, Caron New, who had been out of action for five years because of a back injury. She was placed runner-up collecting seven points overall after claiming two third places and one second place in the finals. Aldwych's Lucy Grimes finished third overall with four points.

They were six British records broken at the championships in the junior, juvenile and Pee Wee sections.

(Photograph omitted)