Kodaira finishes fifth in women’s 1,500 meters


Speedskater Nao Kodaira recorded a fifth-place finish in the women’s 1,500 meters at the Vancouver Olympics on Sunday.

Kodaira crossed the line in 1 minute, 58.20 seconds. It was her second fifth-place result at the Olympics, following Thursday’s 1,000 meters.

Ireen Wust of the Netherlands won the event in 1:56.89. Canadian Kristina Groves finished 0.25 behind in second and Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic added bronze to her 3,000-meter gold, clocking 1:57.96.

“I found myself pumping my fist because I felt good about the way I skated and the time was better than expected,” Kodaira said. “This 1,500 race will be a confidence boost for me toward the team pursuit event (getting under way on Friday).”

Elsewhere for Japan, Maki Tabata finished 19th in her fourth Olympics in 2:00.12, nearly six seconds behind her national record, 15-year-old schoolgirl Miho Takagi (2:01.86) placed 23rd and Sayuri Yoshii (2:02.26) was 26th.

“I knew I would fall behind my skating partner (Heather Richardson of the United States), so I decided to go at my own pace,” Takagi said. “I was able to give it my all, but I couldn’t reach my personal best because I’m not good enough.”