NAGANO – Up-and-coming Joji Kato outpaced world record holder Hiroyasu Shimizu for the second straight day to clinch his first 500 meters title on the final day of the single-distance speed skating championships Sunday.
Kato tore round Nagano’s M-Wave ice arena in 35.48 seconds to win the overall title for the first time with a combined time of 1 minute, 11.24 seconds.
Salt Lake City Olympic silver medalist Shimizu, who finished third in Saturday’s first race, posted a time of 35.55 seconds and took second overall in 1:11.62 ahead of Yu Oikawa (1:11.94).
Shingo Doi won the men’s 1,500 title in 1:51.28. In women’s races, Shihomi Shinya won the 500 title in 1:17.59 and also prevailed in the 1,000 while Maki Tabata took the 1,500 meters title for the fifth year in a row with a time of 2:00.83.
The two-day event was also serving as a trial for the Japanese World Cup team.
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