Speed Skating China Open gives athletes a glimpse of what's in store at Beijing 2022 

Netherlands' Youth Olympic Games champion Isabel Grevelt starred at the three-day Speed Skating China Open, which doubled as a final Winter Olympic test event

By Sean McAlister
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Speed skaters from the Netherlands and Republic of Korea shared the spoils as the three-day Speed Skating China Open came to an end on Sunday 10 October.

The competition - the first of the final Winter Olympic test events that will take place between now and December - took place in the state-of-the-art National Speed Skating Oval in Beijing.

Athletes from the host country, Republic of Korea and the Netherlands took part in the event, with skaters from the latter two nations sharing the wins.

The weekend's biggest winner was Netherlands' 19-year-old Youth Olympic Games 500m champion Isabel Grevelt, who came home first in the women's 500m, 1000m, 1500m and Mass Start races. Her compatriot Sophie Kraaijeveld won the 3000m race and both she and Grevelt were part of the team that triumphed in the Team Pursuit, alongside Leonie Bats.

Kraaijeveld was left impressed by the oval, saying: "It's a beautiful stadium, and I'm honored to skate here. I had a very comfortable skating experience today."

Grevelt echoed her teammate's sentiments: "When I am in this new stadium, I am just looking at how beautiful it is. It's very modern and I really like the way it was done in white and blue. The ice is nice to stake on."

In the men's competition, skaters from the Republic of Korea showed their strength, with KIM Jun-Ho winning the 500m in 35.17 seconds and CHUNG Yang-Hun taking first spot in the 5000m (6 minutes 48.9 seconds). Compatriot JEONG Seon-Kyo placed first in the 1000m, coming home in a time of one minute, 11.46 seconds.

In the final two races of the men's competition, it was once again skaters from the Netherlands who came to the fore, with Gert Wierda winning the 1500m in a season-best one minute, 49.08 seconds and Wierda, Kayo Vos and Jur Veenje winning the eight-lap Team Pursuit race.

The next three competitions in the final series of test events, taking place across the official Beijing 2022 venues, will be the Asian Open figure skating competition (13-17 October), a leg of the short-track speed skating World Cup (21-24 October), the world wheelchair curling championships (23-30 October) and time trials for bobsled and skeleton (25-26 October).

Speed Skating China Open test event