• Kyodo


Joji Kato won the first run of the men’s 500 meters Saturday while world record holder Hiroyasu Shimizu slumped to fourth at the national single-distance championships.

Kato clocked 35.44 seconds at the M-Wave ice arena in Nagano, 0.40 faster than second-place Keiichiro Kobayashi, on the opening day of the first major event of the new speedskating season in Japan.

Masaaki Kobayashi, who posted his first career victory on the World Cup circuit last season, took third in 35.89 and Shimizu finished 0.03 behind. Kobayashi won the 1,000 in a meet-record 1:10.85.

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