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Winter Sports - 2002-03-17

Russian Dimitry Shepel leads the standings in the All-Around Speedskating World Championships in Heerenveen, Netherlands Saturday after skating to victory in the 1,500 meters in one minute, 48.44 seconds.

Shepel benefitted from a blunder by Dutchman Gianni Romme who was disqualified after impeding American Olympic gold medallist Derek Parra in the next to last race.

Jennifer Rodriguez of the United States, winner of Friday's 500 meters, held on to first place in the women's standings by skating to third in the 1,500 meters in a time of one minute, 56.88 seconds.

Veteran Sven Fischer overtook Egil Gjelland on the penultimate leg and Germany held on to beat Norway by 49.2 seconds in a men's World Cup biathlon relay Saturday in Lahti, Finland.

The victory avenged a 45.3 second loss to Norway in the Winter Olympics last month, when Norwegian Ole Einar Bjoerndalen won four gold medals.

The German team won in a time of one hour, 25 minutes and 18.5 seconds. Belarus finished third and Finland fourth.

Germany's Ronny Ackerman clinched the Nordic combined World Cup in Olso Saturday after finishing third in the final sprint event of the season.

Felix Gottwald of Austria, Ackerman's only rival for the overall title, improved from 22nd place in ski jumping to sixth after the seven-point-five meter cross-country sprint, but that was only enough for second place place overall.

Hannu Manninen won the race ahead of fellow Fin Samppa Lajunen.

Ackerman finished the season with two-thousand one-hundred 10 points while Gottwald collected 1,986 points. Lajunen, a triple gold medallist from last month's Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, wound up in third place.