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Bob de Jong to defend 10,000 title at Olympics

HEERENVEEN, Netherlands - HEERENVEEN, Netherlands (AP) — Olympic 10,000 speedskating champion Bob de Jong will defend his title at the Vancouver Games after winning at the Dutch trials on Wednesday.

De Jong skated a personal best of 12 minutes, 53.63. Arjen van der Kieft also beat his peronal best to qualify second in 13:02.99.

"It's certainly a surprise," Van der Kieft said. "I was a long way behind Bob, but it was a personal record and a reward for all the hard work."

Sven Kramer, the favorite to take De Jong's title at the Feb. 12-28 Olympics, had already qualified for the 10,000 in Vancouver and was watching the race from the stands at Thialf Ice Stadium.

In the women's trials, Margot Boer, Laurine van Riessen and Annette Gerritsen qualified to skate the Olympic 1,000.

Reigning Olympic 1,000 champion Marianne Timmer is recovering after breaking her heel in a November fall and will have a chance in late January to qualify. Timmer has won three Olympic golds and is hoping to qualify for her fourth games.

Elma de Vries booked a place in the Olympic 5,000-meter race by winning her qualifier in 7:07.41. A second skater is expected to be selected for the longest women's distance in January.

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