Yang battles weather to bag bronze

ST. MORITZ, Switzerland-Chinese speed skater Yang Binyu won bronze in the women’s 1500 meters at the Winter Youth Olympics on Lake St. Moritz on Monday.

Starting on the inner lane with eventual gold-medal winner Myrthe de Boer of the Netherlands in the final pairing, Yang clocked 2 minutes 10.93 seconds-0.49 seconds behind her Dutch rival.

Japan’s Takahashi Yuka, who was paired with 500m gold medalist Isabel Grevelt of the Netherlands, claimed silver in 2:10.58.

Yang struggled with the windy conditions on the lake, with her time some five seconds slower than her personal best indoors.

“I couldn’t push myself too hard in the beginning so I kept chasing in the following rounds,” said Yang.

“I might have been a bit lucky to start on the outside lane today due to the wind direction but, anyway, this is an outdoor competition and everyone has to deal with it.”

China’s head coach Liu Kai praised Yang for giving it her best shot in the difficult conditions.

“0.49 seconds is not a huge gap in a 1500-meter race,” said Liu. “Her skating pose did not help her in the wind and she had to become stronger to overcome these difficulties to reach the podium.”

Yang will go for glory again in Thursday’s mass start race.

In the men’s 1500m, China’s Sun Jiazhao clocked 1:58.10 to finish ninth. The 17-year-old couldn’t hide his disappointment with the result and admitted he had not felt in peak condition during training.

“I’m feeling a bit tired and I could see how far I fell behind from those top skaters,” said Sun. “The wind made me three to four seconds slower but this should not be an excuse for my poor performance.”

The team sprint and mass start races will take place on Wednesday and Thursday on the natural ice rink on Lake St. Moritz.

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