Takagi sixth on first day of worlds


Miho Takagi finished in sixth place in the women’s 3,000 meters on Thursday as Japan was shut out of the medals on the first day of the World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships.

The 21-year-old Takagi clocked a time of 4 minutes, 7.26 seconds to finish over four seconds behind winner Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic.

Despite missing out on a place on the podium, Takagi, who is entered in five races here and is part of the Japan team that will be aiming for a second straight gold in the women’s pursuit, said she was pleased with her race.

“I feel I have gained enough confidence to aim for a medal,” said Takagi, who was paired against Germany’s Claudia Pechstein, who finished fourth.

“I have taken a step forward and this is great for my motivation. I have made a good start here so for now I can be happy,” she added.

Sablikova clocked 4:03.05 for her fourth world championships title over the distance, edging out Dutchwoman Ireen Wust, who crossed the line in 4:03.13 to take the silver ahead of compatriot Antoinette de Jong (4:04.25).

Also racing the 3,000 for Japan, Misaki Oshigiri ran out of steam over the second half of her race and was 14th, while Fuyo Matsuoka was 16th.

“My target was to finish inside the top eight so I am disappointed,” said Oshigiri. “I started too fast and paid for it in the second half.

“It’s a shame because I wanted to gain some momentum. My body would not move (the way I wanted it to) at all.”