• Olympian Ning Zhongyan totals five medals after the Speed Skating World Cup events in Hokkaido and Beijing
  • On December 1, the athletes jet off to Stavanger, Norway to compete in their third of six World Cup events

China ended the Beijing leg of the ISU World Cup Speed Skating on the podium, with Ning Zhongyan taking bronze in the men's 1,000m race on Sunday.

Ning crossed the finish line in one minute, 09.03 seconds, less than a second behind three-time Olympic champion Kjeld Nuis of the Netherlands, and trailing second-place finisher Havard Holmefjord Lorentzen of Norway by 0.04 seconds.

Third place was an improvement for Ning, who finished fifth in the same event when he made his debut at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2022.

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"Going back home [to compete] is different," Ning wrote in a social media post. "Three days went by really fast, and I still want to keep fighting at home! See you next time!"

The bronze marked the skater's third medal in Beijing, after he finished third in the 1,500m on Friday then took silver in team sprint on Saturday. Earlier in November, the 24-year-old collected silver in the 1,000m and bronze in the 1,500m in Hokkaido, Japan, where the first World Cup event of the 2023 season took place.

"It is a satisfying start to a new season. Hopefully I can change the colour of my medals into gold in the next events," Ning said.

China's Han Mei made the podium for the women's side on Sunday, following a bronze-medal performance in the 3,000m. The 25-year-old clocked 4:05.45, as Norway's Ragne Wiklund took gold with 4:03.41 and Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic finished at 4:04.86 for silver.

Han also won silver in the 1,500m on Friday in what she described on social media as a "bigggg surprise". Clocking 1:55.92, she finished one second ahead of compatriot Li Qishi, who claimed bronze. Japan's Miho Takagi triumphed with a time of 1:55.52.

As the Beijing leg wrapped up on Sunday, the athletes have little time to rest before jetting off to Stavanger, Norway for the next World Cup event starting on December 1. The Speed Skating World Cup concludes on February 4, after the sixth and final event in Quebec City, Canada.

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This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.

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2023-11-20T10:01:15Z dg43tfdfdgfd