Nelson speed skater Zena Denton during the Nelson open at Saxton Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Chris Symes/Shuttersport.

Nelson claim Top of the South speed skating supremacy

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Nelson made a stunning start to its speed skating season on Saturday.

Dozens of skaters from Nelson and Blenheim took part in the Nelson Open at Saxton Stadium, racing in 800m, 1500m and 3000m events.

Nelson speed skating coordinator Natasha Van Der Kallen says Nelson put on a near perfect performance at the open.

“The open kicks off our home events and they have got on really well and took home a lot of medals.”

She says juniors Mikayla MacDonald, Holly Ward and Jamie Manson were particularly impressive.

“They are young and just love the competitiveness and speed.”

The open ran for the first time in 2017 and with numbers slightly up, Nelson coach Alan Bartlett says the sport is growing.

“It is a real up and coming sport, even five-year-olds like to go fast.”

Alan encourages anyone who is interested in taking up speed skating to pop along to the clubs learn to skate sessions on Mondays at 4.30 at the Nelson Roller Sports Club Inc.

Natasha says the club will be looking at taking 16 skaters to the national championships in Palmerston North early next year.

“Several of them will be medal hopes.”

Among them is Nelson skating superstar Garth Jameson who comfortably claimed the men’s masters on Saturday.

Garth is one of two Nelson speed skaters nominated for the Nelson Sports Awards next month.