NAGANO – Veteran Satoru Terao expressed his intention to put a period on his career Sunday after failing in a bid to win a fifth consecutive Olympic berth with a disappointing effort at the speedskating short track national championships.
Biba Sakurai, meanwhile, won both the women’s 1,000 and 3,000 meters on the final day of the two-day meet at Nagano Big Hat, which doubled as the final qualifier for next February’s Vancouver Olympics.
Sakurai, who has already booked an Olympic berth, added the two titles to the 1,500-meter crown she won the previous day and was the overall champion for the second time in three meets.
Yuzo Takamido won the men’s 3,000 meters and captured the overall title for the first time after booking his ticket to Vancouver on Saturday. Sakurai’s older brother Yuma emerged the winner of the men’s 1,000.
Terao made his Olympic debut in 1994 in Lillehammer and represented Japan four consecutive times at the Winter Games.
But the 34-year-old, hampered by the lingering effects of a broken left ankle suffered in February, has run out of steam. On Sunday, he bowed out in the semifinals of the 1,000, having thrown in the towel as he trailed in last with nearly three laps remaining.
“I don’t have the motivation to put myself into competition anymore. It’s time to end it,” Terao said.
Terao’s best Olympic result was fourth in the 1,000 at the Lillehammer Games, narrowly leaving him out of the medals.
He won the silver medal at the 1999 world championships and boasts a record 12 overall titles at the national championships. Terao has yet to announce any future plans.
“Unless I am in a position battling for a medal or a top-eight finish in Olympics, I am no longer Satoru Terao,” he said with teary eyes after the race.
After the final day, the Japan Skating Federation added Takahiro Fujimoto to the men’s Olympic sport track team and Yui Sakai, Ayuko Ito, Hiroko Sadakane and Mika Ozawa to the women’s squad.