Speed skater Pechstein, 45, set for seventh Winter Olympics

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Speed skater Pechstein, 45, set for seventh Winter Olympics

Speed skater Pechstein, 45, set for seventh Winter Olympics

Berlin (AFP) - Germany's Claudia Pechstein, 45, is set to compete at her seventh Winter Olympics next February after claiming a World Cup victory in Norway on Sunday.

The five-time Olympic champion won the women's 5000m World Cup race at Stavanger by clocking 6min 56.60sec, having only needed a top-eight finish to qualify for Pyeongchang, for the 33rd World Cup win of her career.

She narrowly beat Canada's Ivanie Blondin, who finished second, despite being 18 years younger than Pechstein.

"I'm very, very proud of myself. I had set myself the goal of skating under seven minutes, but such a time is crazy for me," Pechstein told German broadcaster ZDF.

"I think I am on plan, now it is all about staying healthy and building on this form."

The Winter Games in South Korea take place from 9-25 February and Pechstein will turn 46 on the 22nd.

The German is the most successful Olympic speed skater, male or female, of all-time.

She has won five golds, two silvers and two bronze Olympic medals at Winter Games dating back to Albertville in 1992.

However, she missed the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver while serving a two-year ban, which she has adamantly fought, when the International Skating Union accused her of doping in 2009.

Pechstein's blood had shown abnormal levels of immature red blood cells, triggering suspicions of doping, but she maintains her irregular results were due to a congenital blood disorder and not from doping.

Pechstein was only allowed to compete again in 2011 and failed to medal at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

The only obstacle left in Pechstein's way for is a nomination by the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), which should just be a formality.