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Over the last few days a lot has been written in the Dutch media about Ice Derby, a new ice skating discipline in which the future looks very bright. A spectacular sport in which super speed and taking risks is what it’s all about when four ice skaters race one another on a special, small-sized 220 meter ice track.
Ice derby must come to the rescue of ice skating as a sport. Although Ice Derby is only in it’s embryonic state, the gambling market already shows a great deal of enthusiasm. Moreover, international bookmakers are the ones that stand at the cradle of this new sport that will soon be hitting the world scene.
Ice Derby Inspired by Keirin
The inspiration for the new sport Ice Derby comes from keirin, a discipline of cycling which is especially popular in Japan and Asian countries.
A group of 4-9 cyclists go onto the track and stay behind a motorcycle that will gradually increase speed. Only in the last 500 meters of the two-kilometres long race, the racers are released and sprint for victory. While sprinting, the speed will go up even more and spectacular velocities are reached.
It’s all a bit reminiscent of short track skating as well, a sport that also gained huge popularity in the Netherlands in the last 30 years or so.
Short track skating similarly sees group of sprinters appear at the start who then race one another. But short track skaters ride their matches on an ice hockey rink and that means that their laps are much smaller. Because of the extra length on an Ice Derby track, the straight parts will be used for overtaking and that will make it even more of a spectacle.
What the exact race distances will be and if a motorbike will appear on the ice track, is not known yet at this moment.
What is sure: the high speed, the danger of falling, and the great risks that are taken in overtaking competitors, will guarantee spectacular races that will be far more interesting to the public to watch than a ten kilometre race – making Ice Derby very interesting for betting on.
First Ice Derby In Dubai
The idea for Ice derby comes from Korea, but the sport is being developed by nothing less than a company: Icederby Americas. To get the sport up and going, Icederby Americas have already collected half a billion with investors and the very first, big international ice derby event will be held in Dubai, shortly after the Sochi Olympic Winter Games.
The best Olympic ice skaters and short trackers will receive an invitation, as will elite inline skaters. For the competitors it won’t be simply a nice opportunity to try out a new sport since they can also, at the very first international Ice Derby event ever, make a nice sum of pocket money.
Bookmakers Invest In Ice Derby
The companies that invest in Ice Derby can of course be found in the betting industry. Everything that smells like racing, whether it be on horseback, in a F1 race car or with greyhounds, makes incredible amounts of money go round, precisely because it is so attractive for betting.
Especially in Asia, betting on races is huge and increasingly, continental Europeans are getting a taste for it too. For that reason, investing in Ice Derby as a sport is very attractive. Also for skaters it will be a very attractive sport because of the huge sums in prize money that can be won. “The skaters will have the chance to earn significantly more prize money than they earn now”, says Jack Mortell of Icederby Americas in Dutch Newspaper ‘De Volkskrant’.
Tens of thousands of euros can be won in a sheer, single race. Amounts that will easily be earned back by investors, because Ice Derby will be a hugely attractive proposition for gamblers.
The initial reactions of speed skating stars are enthusiastic; they definitely want to try out the new sport. The Netherlands is small but in speed skating they are great power and the sport is massively popular and remains so, year after year.
Ice skating clubs are everywhere and flourishing, and this is where the new Rintje Ritsma or Ard Schenk will be found. But in most other countries speed skating seems to have taken a downward spiral.
Only in the Netherlands we enthusiastically keep flocking to the ice track to watch and support our national heroes Sven Kramer and Ireen Wust.
Norway and Sweden, which some thirty years ago, were speed skating nations to be seriously reckoned with. Also in the Netherlands skating unions and sponsors are looking for ways to make skating an attractive sport again, because without international competition, speed skating will eventually lose will lose the rationale of its existence – even in speed skating crazy Netherlands. Ice Derby may be the answer we have been looking for.