• Kyodo

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Nao Kodaira won the women’s 500 and 1,000 meters while rewriting the national record in both distances to take the overall lead on the opening day of the World Sprint Speed Skating Championships on Saturday.

In the 500, Kodaira clocked 36.75 seconds at the Olympic Oval to trim 0.38 second off her own national mark set two weeks ago in South Korea, with Karolina Erbanova of the Czech Republic taking second in 37.06 and American Heather Bergsma third in 37.22.

In the 1,000, she clocked 1:12.51 to eclipse her other record which stood since November 2013 by 1.47 seconds. Jorien ter Mors of the Netherlands had the second-fastest time of 1:12.53 and Bergsma was third again, 0.44 behind Kodaira.

“I was hoping to go in the early 1:13-mark but didn’t imagine I would record 12:51,” said the 30-year-old Kodaira, who flew to Canada on Wednesday, the day after claiming her second gold at the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo.

“I’m not happy with my lack of balance in the 500 meters and I can go on and on complaining about that. I hope to make adjustments and improve my record,” she said.

Maki Tsuji finished sixth in the same race, crossing the finish line in 37.56.

In both the men’s 500 and 1,000, Tsubasa Hasegawa placed 12th for Japan’s best performance with times of 34.68 and 1:08.49, respectively. Shunsuke Nakamura was also tied for 12th in the 1,000.

In the two-day meet, each skater will take part in two 500 and two 1,000 races, and the champion will be determined based on the cumulative ranking.

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