World speed skating champion, Lara Van Ruijven dies at 27

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World champion speed skater Lara van Ruijven, who had been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, has died aged 27.

The Dutch short track skater won a bronze medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

She was admitted to hospital in Perpignan, France last month after falling ill during a training camp.

“It is an enormous blow for a close-knit group. Her loss will be felt through the whole sporting world,” said Dutch short track coach Jeroen Otter.

Van Ruijven won the 500m title at the World Championships in Sofia last year, and Olympic bronze in the 3,000m relay at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.

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“We feel the pain for her family and the short track team,” said Royal Dutch Skating Federation (KNSB) director Herman de Haan.

“This is hard to comprehend. On behalf of KNSB I want to wish Lara’s friends and family strength with dealing with this great loss.”