Aylesbury's long track speed skater Ellia Smeding in action in Beijing Winter Olympics

Great Britain's first female long track skater since 1980 clocks 2.01.09 in the 1500m

By Zoe Ashton
Monday, 7th February 2022, 12:06 pm
Ellia Smeding (Picture Getty Images)

Aylesbury' s Ellia Smeding, the first female long track speed skater to represent Great Britain for 42 years, finished 27th of the 30 competitors in the 1500m at Beijing's National Speed Skating Oval.

The 23-year-old earned high praise from BBC commentators for her performance, making her Olympic debut in China.

Ellia clocked 2 minutes 01.09 for the three and three-quarter laps of the 400m track.

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Ellia Smeding competing for Great Britain in the 1500m in Beijing (Picture Elsa/Getty Images)

Competing in the first pairing alongside Huang Yu Ting of Chinese Taipei , Ellia then had to wait for the other 14 pairings to determine her final position and who would be on the podium.

Ellia, a part-time law student in Groningen, where she lives and trains in the Netherlands, had been ninth in the European Championships earlier this year and 18th in one of the world cups.

Introducing the racing, BBC presenter Hazel Irvine said Ellia and fellow long track Olympian boyfriend Cornelius Kersten had set up a coffee business called Brew 22 to help fund their journey towards the Games.

Fastest was the Netherlands' Ireen Wust, 35, who set a new Olympic record of 1.53.28 to win her sixth gold medal over five Games.

Ellia's personal best, set in January is 1.59.23 to break the British record with her best time set at altitude in Salt Lake City of 1.57.62.