Nico Ihle claimed a home 500m victory ©Getty Images

Nico Ihle delighted the home crowd by winning the men’s 500 metres on day one of the International Skating Union (ISU) Speed Skating World Cup at the Sportforum in Berlin today.

In front of partisan support, the German was one of only two men to dip below the 35 second barrier with a time of 34.83sec.

This overhauled the time of 34.97 earlier achieved by Japan's Yuma Yurakami. 

Dutchman Jan Smeekens crashed after crossing the line in 35.02 to take bronze.

Injured Russian Pavel Kulizhnikov still holds the lead in the World Cup standings. 

Second-ranked Ruslan Murashov's time of 35.17 was only good enough for seventh place.

Japan's Nao Kodaira secured a fifth World Cup win of the season in the corresponding women's event.

Nao Kodaira of Japan claimed a gold and a silver medal ©Getty Images
Nao Kodaira of Japan claimed a gold and a silver medal ©Getty Images

The 31-year old sprinter was the only one to break the 38-second barrier with her season's best clocking of 37.43.

European sprint champion Karolina Erbanova took second place in 38.12 while Russia's Olga Fatkulina managed 38.36 for bronze.

United States' Heather Bergsma underlined her similarly emphatic streak with a fourth 1000m gold of the season to prevent a Kodaira-double.

The Japanese skater set the bar at 1:15.49 in the penultimate pair, before Bergsma managed just 0.07 faster.

Reigning 1000m world champion Jorien ter Mors of The Netherlands took bronze in 1:15.62.

Kjeld Nuis ensured the first Dutch gold of the weekend by winning the men's 1500m in 1:45.98.

Russia's Denis Yuskov placed second in 1:46.03 while New Zealander Peter Michael continued his breakthrough season with bronze in 1:46.87.