Asia dominated the Men’s events on the second day of the ISU World Cup Speed Skating in Tomaszów Mazowiecki. Min-Seok Kim (KOR) took his career first World Cup win in the 1500m with Ning Zhongyan (CHN) coming second, while Masahito Obayashi (JPN) won the Mass Start. Zbigniew Bródka (POL) made the home crowd happy, taking Mass Start bronze on his return to international Speed Skating after a two-year break.
Kim wins close 1500m
Min-Seok Kim (KOR) finished his 1500m race in one minute, 46.15 seconds, 0.39s slower than the track record Thomas Krol (NED) set in 2019.
With all the big guns yet to come no one expected Kim’s time to hold. But none of his rivals managed to beat the 2019 Four Continents Champion although Ning Zhongyan came close, finishing only 0.03s adrift.
Min-Seok Kim (KOR) © International Skating Union (ISU)
The Chinese silver medal winner was happy to start the season on a high.
“Since Covid-19, about 20 months, I haven't been racing at international level,” he said. “This is the first competition and I just want to find my style again. I really love to be back on the road again.
“It feels great to be on the podium and it looks good for the future World Cups.”
Those World Cups are a stepping stone for Ning this season.
“We’ve got the Olympics in my home country. From now on there is only 80 days left. So we will do all we can to perform well in Beijing.”
Joey Mantia (USA) took 1500m bronze in 1:46.38 and the American was glad to be in the mix for the medals again.
“I always thought that I have the ability. This year I focus heavily on the specifics and it's coming together so I have all the tools now to win.”
Ning Zhongyan (CHN) © International Skating Union (ISU)
Dutchmen Thomas Krol and Kjeld Nuis (NED) dominated the 1500m over the past couple of years but they were fighting each other out of the medals.
Getting into the final backstretch, they were level, with Nuis having priority coming from the outer lane. Both were hesitant, Krol made room for Nuis but the damage was done already. Nuis took sixth place in 1:47.06, while Krol finished 16th in 1:48.58.
“Those guys are pretty uncomfortable,” Mantia said. “I don't know if it's coming in later, they didn't look themselves.
“I don't really pay too much attention to who I'm beating and you know, it’s irrelevant at this point. I'm just happy that I'm on the podium and skating well for myself.”
Joey Mantia (USA) © International Skating Union (ISU)
“They're powerhouses. Erin’s killing it in the 500m, Brittany in the 1000m and we’ll see her tomorrow in the 1500. I expect good things.
“I'm just trying to keep up with them. I'm old, trying to do my thing and trying to make Florida proud like they are.”
Obayashi takes maiden win in Mass Start
The men’s Mass Start race was unusual. Masahito Obayashi (JPN), Ruslan Zakharov (RUS) and Zbigniew Bródka (POL) set up an early escape and caught up with the pack again, which led to some confusion among the skaters.
When the dust had settled, Obayashi came out on top to win his career first World Cup medal. Zakharov grabbed silver, also winning his first World Cup medal, while Bródka seized bronze.
Bródka had retired from Speed Skating in 2019 only to come back for one final Olympic campaign.
Ruslan Zakharov (RUS), Masahito Obayashi (JPN) and Zbigniew Brodka (POL) © International Skating Union (ISU)
“It’s Beijing,” the 37-year-old explained. “I skated my first World Junior Championships in Short Track in Beijing back in 2003, so with the Olympic Games in Beijing next year I have to come back one more time.”
Although the pinnacle of his career was Olympic gold in the 1500m at the Games in Sochi in 2014, Bródka thinks his best chance for an Olympic medal next year is in the Mass Start.
“That’s better for me now, I’ve got a better chance to go to the podium. In the 1500m there’s more people with podium chances.”
ISU World Cup Speed Skating Standings 1500m Men
Mass Start Men
ISU World Cup Speed Skating Standings Mass Start Men
The event entry quotas for the individual distances will be determined by the Special Olympic Qualification Classification (SOQC) based on results from the different ISU World Cup Speed Skating Competitions and the full details are available in ISU Communication 2405.
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ISU World Cup Speed Skating Series 2021/22:
About ISU World Cup Speed Skating Series
The ISU World Cup Speed Skating is a Series of international Speed Skating competitions which takes place annually. The Series started in 1984 and usually consists of six or seven Events including the ISU World Cup Speed Skating Final. However during the Olympic season the Series consists of five Events.
Skaters can earn points at each competition, and the Skater who has the most points on a given distance at the end of the Series is the World Cup winner of that distance. The World Cup Competitions held from November to December serve as qualifying events for entry quotas at the ISU European, World Single Distances, World Sprint and World Allround Speed Skating Championships and during the Olympic season they are Olympic Qualifying Events. A number of World Cup titles are awarded every season; For Men: 500m, 1000m, 1500m, combined 5000m / 10,000m, Mass Start, Team Pursuit and Team Sprint. For Women 500m, 1000m, 1500m, the combined 3000m / 5000m, Mass Start, Team Pursuit and Team Sprint. For further information please visit isu.org/WorldCupSpeedSkating.