• Kyodo

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Sayuri Yoshii outpaced Tomomi Okazaki in the women’s 1,000 meters to take the overall lead after two races on the opening day of the national sprint championships in Nagano on Tuesday.

Okazaki set a meet record on the way to winning the 500 in 38.36, but defending champion Yoshii, who is set to be named on the Japan team for the Turin Winter Olympics, edged in front in the rankings by beating Okazaki in 1:17.24, also a meet record.

Yoshii collected a total of 77.200 points while Takaharu Nakajima tops the men’s rankings on 70.580 on the first day of the two-day event that doubles as the final qualifier for sprinters for Turin.

Nakajima won the men’s 1,000 in 1:10.30 and finished third in the 500 won by current world record holder Joji Kato.

Former record holder and Nagano Olympic gold medalist Hiroyasu Shimizu was fifth in the 500.

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