NAGANO (Kyodo) Veteran speedskater Tomomi Okazaki became the first Japanese female athlete to book a spot in the Olympics for a record fifth time on Monday after finishing in second in a qualifier for next year’s Vancouver Games.
The 38-year-old Okazaki timed a combined 1 minute, 17.62 seconds from two runs in the women’s 500 meters, finishing behind Nao Kodaira at Nagano’s M-Wave ice arena.
She cleared the Japan Skating Federation’s Olympic qualification standard to officially win a berth.
“I feel the same nerves I felt today competing in Olympics. I think I will have a good battle in the Olympics in February by taking part in challenging competitions around this time,” Okazaki said.