OBIHIRO, Hokkaido – Eriko Ishino powered past defending champion Maki Tabata in the women’s all-around competition to capture her first title at the speed skating national championships on Sunday.
Tabata, who led after the first day of action on Saturday, missed out on her seventh straight title when the 19-year-old Ishino turned the tables with her victory in the 5,000 meters, the last race of the two-day event in Hokkaido.
Victory was especially sweet for Ishino, last year’s runnerup, who scored a total of 174.06 points en route to becoming the first teenager to win the women’s crown since Seiko Hashimoto accomplished the feat in 1983.
Tabata was second overall while Nami Nemoto came third. In the men’s event, Takahiro Ushiyama held his overnight lead to win his first title with 163.317 points. He placed third in the 1,500 and fifth in the 10,000 — results that were good enough to retain his advantage. Second place went to Hiroki Hirako and defending champion Kesato Miyazaki was third. The meet also served as a qualifier for next February’s World Championships in Moscow.
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