Skaters from China, South Korea, Mongolia and Italy claimed team gold ©Lillehammer 2016

Speed skating’s first mixed National Olympic Committee (NOC) sprint has proved a big hit for Mongolia, who struck gold for the first time at any Winter Olympic event here today at Lillehammer 2016.

Teams consisted of two boys and two girls, with the fastest and slowest skaters from the individual 500m paired together.

Mongolia's Buyantogtogk and Noemi Bonazza of Italy thus joined Hanyang Shen of China and bronze medallist Chung Jae Woong of South Korea.

Chung's penultimate leg pulled the team into second before Shen crossed the line first for a combined time of 1:57.85.

Buyantogtokh thus won her country’s first medal at this level.

It was also a big day for her coach D Enkbahyar, who took charge of the team.

"Before the race, I was afraid," the history-making winner said.

"Now I can't believe I won the gold,"

“I was very stressed, it was a lot of pressure, but I’m very proud."

Skaters competing in the innovative team format ©Lillehammer 2016
Skaters competing in the innovative team format ©Lillehammer 2016

United States' Austin Kleba took silver in 1:58.80 alongside Karolina Gasecka of Poland, The Netherlands’ Elisa Dul and Anvar Mukhamadeyev of Kazakhstan.

Norway’s Allan Dahl Johansson anchored his team to bronze in 1:58.87 alongside Mihaela Hogas of Romania, Italy’s Chiara Cristelli and Ole Jeske of Germany.

The winning team only had two brief practice sessions together before race time.

“It was a little difficult with the language because some did not understand English.” added Italy's Bonazza, also the 1500 bronze medallist here.

“We did not have a strategy, we just tried to skate together.

"We were a very good team because we were together."