• Kyodo


Tomomi Okazaki posted the best total score after placing first in the women’s 500 meters and third in the 1,000 meters on the opening day of the national sprint championships on Tuesday.

Okazaki clocked 39.01 seconds to win the 500 in a rink record at Chino Sports Park Skate Center and 1:20.61 in the 1,000, collecting 79.315 points for the two races to top the rankings in the two-day event, which also serves as a qualifier for the Jan. 22-23 World Sprint Championships in Salt Lake City.

Sayuri Yoshii, who won the 1,000 in a rink-record 1:18.93, was second overall with 79.325 and defending overall champion Shihomi Shinya was third with 79.350 after placing third in the 500 and second in the 1,000.

In men’s action, Hiroyasu Shimizu, who is gunning for his third straight and eighth career overall title, won the 500 in a rink-record 35.42 and Takaharu Nakajima won the 1,000.

Masaaki Kobayashi tops the men’s rankings with 71.980 points, followed by Tadashi Obara (72.445) and Shimizu (72.685).

The overall title in the men’s and women’s division is determined by the total points accumulated through four races — two 500 and two 1,000.

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