Speed skating: Kramer pulls out of 1,500m to help 10k bid

SOCHI, Russia Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:40am EST

Gold medalist Sven Kramer (C) of the Netherlands jumps on the podium next to his compatriots silver medalist Jan Blokhuijsen (L) and bronze medalist Jorrit Bergsma during the medal ceremony for the men's 5,000 metres speed skating race in the Olympic Plaza at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics February 9, 2014. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

Gold medalist Sven Kramer (C) of the Netherlands jumps on the podium next to his compatriots silver medalist Jan Blokhuijsen (L) and bronze medalist Jorrit Bergsma during the medal ceremony for the men's 5,000 metres speed skating race in the Olympic Plaza at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics February 9, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Marko Djurica

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SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Dutch speed skater Sven Kramer withdrew from the 1,500 meters on Wednesday to boost his chances of completing an Olympic long distance double in Sochi.

The 27-year-old won the men's 5,000m at the Adler Arena on Saturday and skates in the 10,000m on Tuesday - an event he thought he had won four years ago only to be disqualified for an incorrect lane change after easily clocking the best time.

"A very tough decision, but I have decided not to skate the 1,500m race. This to stay focused on my 10,000m and the team pursuit event," Kramer posted on his Twitter page (@SvenKramer86) on Wednesday.

Jan Blokhuijsen, who finished second to Kramer in the 5,000m, will take his place in the race.

Blokhuijsen had contemplated flying home after the opening race on Saturday and returning for the team pursuit which starts on February 21.

"It is great to have another goal between now and the team pursuit," he said.

The Dutch have won three of the first four speed skating golds in Sochi and completed two medal sweeps in the men's 5,000m and the 500m.

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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