Silver medalist Wang Jingyi of China, gold medalist Isabel Grevelt of the Netherlands and bronze medalist Yoshida Yukino of Japan (from L to R) attend the mascot ceremony of the women's 500m of speed skating event at the 3rd Winter Youth Olympic Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland, Jan. 12, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)
China collect silver, bronze in speed skating at Winter YOG.
ST. MORITZ, Switzerland, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- China's speed skating team collected a silver and a bronze respectively in the women's and men's 500m events here on Sunday, the very first medals for the Chinese delegation at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games.
Wang Jingyi (front) of China warms up before the women's 500m of speed skating event at the 3rd Winter Youth Olympic Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland, Jan. 12, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)
Wang Jingyi, starting in the last pair with Myrthe de Boer from the Netherlands, clocked 41.07 seconds to claim the silver in the women's 500m, as Dutch girl Isabel Grevelt grabbed the gold in 40.57 seconds.
Pairing with the eventual champion, China's Yang Binyu finished fourth with a time of 41.25 seconds.
The 17-year-old Wang, who only began to practise speed skating four years ago, had never competed in an outdoor rink before the Winter YOG. Aiming at the gold, she felt not having completely adapted to the lake ice but was satisfied with the result.
"It's much warmer today than the training session yesterday. I stepped to the ice a bit earlier and stayed on the ice for too long, so my body seemed a bit frozen," she said.
"I started well and finished strong, but I don't have much experience of an outdoor rink, especially at the turns. It seems that all the athletes finished slower than the indoor rinks," Wang added.
Xue Zhiwen of China competes during the men's 500m of speed skating event at the 3rd Winter Youth Olympic Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland, Jan. 12, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)
In the men's 500m, China's Xue Zhiwen, 16, who started with Nil Llop Aquierdo from Spain as the 13th pair, rushed to the finish line in 36.67 seconds to take the bronze, while the Spaniard was 0.07 seconds faster than Xue and claimed the silver. The gold went to Japanese skater Yamamoto Yudai who finished in 36.42 seconds.
A former short-track skater, Xue began ice training at the age of 10. He turned to the 400-meter track just one year ago and had finished in seventh place at the 500-meter race in the Youth World Cup last year.
Xue told Xinhua he enjoyed the outdoor rink but it was not his best sprint.
"My goal is to hit 36.50 seconds but Lake St. Moritz has lots of differences from the indoor rinks. The ice here is not flat with cracks," said Xue.
According to Liu Kai, coach of China's speed skating team, the Chinese athletes were pretty good to win the medals but they need to improve further.
"We're racing for the golds in the 500 meters, both for men and women's teams, " Liu commented. "Everyone tried their best and Xue had made his personal best on plateau rinks."
Foreseeing the 1500-meter race on Monday, Sun Jiazhao, ranked 10th in the men's 500m and will vie for the title. Yang is expected to sprint to the podiums as well.
"The four young athletes are currently the best at their age in China and we hope they'll achieve something in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics," said Liu. "They have great potentials and they need long-term progress to qualify for Beijing 2022." ■