Speed Skating - Mulder and Yu lead midway through sprint worlds

Dutch speed skater Michel Mulder is well placed in the defence of his World Sprint Championship title after a victory and a fifth on the opening day in Nagano.

The 27-year-old was consistent across the board 12 months ago in Utah as he walked away as the world sprint champion but he started his defence even better in Japan. Mulder took victory in the 500m opener in 34.83seconds and then placed fifth in the first of two 1000m races, which was won by Denis Kuzin of Kazakhstan in 1:09.37minutes. That places Mulder firmly in the lead with double Olympic 1000m champion Shani Davis second after an 11th and second and Canadian William Dutton third after a fifth and a fourth. Meanwhile the battle for the ladies' title is far tighter with little separating current leader Yu Jing from Dutch skater Margot Boer and team-mate Zhang Hong. Yu claimed the world sprint title in 2012 but had to settle for silver last year although she could be returning to winning ways after victory in the 500m and a third in the 1000m. Boer meanwhile was second in both events and Zhang fifth and victorious in the 1000m with little separating the three going into the final day and two more races.