Netherlands, South Korea split golds as Speed Skating China Open starts

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Chinese skater Yang Binyu competes in the game.

Dutch and South Korean skaters split four golds at the National Speed Skating Oval on the opening day of the Speed Skating China Open, which also serves as a test event for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

This is the first international competition among Beijing 2022's test events, which aims to test all elements of the Games in the three competition zones of Beijing, Yanqing and Zhangjiakou before the winter sports extravaganza begins in February 2022.

Sophie Kraaijeveld of the Netherlands won the women's 3,000m in four minutes 25.32 seconds, followed by Yang Binyu of China 0.29 seconds behind. South Korea's Park Chae-won came third in 4:26.46.

"It's a beautiful stadium, and I'm honored to skate here. I had a very comfortable skating experience today," Kraaijeveld said through an interpreter.

She was echoed by Yang, mass start champion at the 2020 Youth Olympics, who referred to the Oval as "beautiful and well-equipped."

Elsewhere on Friday, Chung Yang-hun of South Korea took gold in the men's 5,000m in 6:48.09. China's Ma Xingguang bagged a silver in 6:49.98, while Gert Wierda of the Netherlands claimed the bronze 0.72 seconds further behind.

2018 world bronze medalist Kim Jun-ho of South Korea and Youth Olympic champion Isabel Grevelt of the Netherlands triumphed in the men's and women's 500m races respectively.

The three-day China Open will continue on Saturday with men's and women's 1,000m and team pursuit golds at stake.

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