Skating powerhouses forge partnership

The Royal Dutch Skating Association (KNSB) has entered into a wide-ranging partnership with South Korean counterpart the Korea Skating Union (KSU) that aims to generate more investment in the sport, among other initiatives.

The Memorandum of Understanding will run for four years through to the 2018 winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Under the agreement, both organisations will share their respective expertise in the sport and work together to capitalise on any business opportunities that may emerge in the lead up to the 2018 Games. The KNSB and KSU will target both Dutch and South Korean companies under this joint effort.

In addition, both organisations will collaborate on a number of joint training initiatives. This will see staff from both national governing bodies travel to the other country to provide specialist training to athletes.

“Our partnership with the Netherlands lets us share our strengths and is a 'win-win' opportunity for both of us,” KSU president Kim Jae-yeol said.

The partnership was reportedly first mooted at the 2014 winter Olympic Games, which took place in Sochi, Russia earlier this year. The Netherlands won eight of the 12 speed skating gold medals on offer at the event. South Korea won two short track gold medals, with Viktor Ahn claiming a further three having switched his allegiance to the host nation.

Paul Sanders, chief executive of the KNSB, added: “This partnership adds value to both countries. The KSU wants to learn from us as a traditional long track country while the KNSB wants to gain knowledge in the field of short track, where South Korea is very prominent.

“In addition to sports-related aspects, it is important for the future of speed skating that we develop a fresh look that fits the future of sports sponsorship. We want to inspire each other's businesses to strengthen skating and their ambitions.”