HEERENVEEN, NETHERLANDS - The Japan women’s speedskating team won its first gold medal Saturday in the team pursuit at the world single distance championships.
On the third day of the meet, Ayaka Kikuchi and the Takagi sisters, Nana and Miho, cut a winning time of 3 minutes, 1.53 seconds to finish two-hundredths of a second ahead of the two-time defending champion Netherlands.
Russia was third in 3:03.19.
“I’m thrilled to be on top of the world,” Kikuchi said. “Hearing the national anthem gave me goose bumps. This is where the real fight begins.”
In the women’s 500 meters, Nao Kodaira won her first career medal by finishing third with a combined time of 1:15.89 over the two races. American Heather Richardson topped both races to win in 1:15.33.