HAMAR, NORWAY – Miho Takagi placed top at the world all-around championships on Saturday when two of four distance events took place.
The 22-year-old, who won three gold medals at the recent Asian Winter Games, came first in the 500 meters before finishing sixth in the 3,000 to log 79.236 at the meet determined by total points over two days.
Takagi rewrote her personal best by 0.1 second in the 500 as she logged 38.15 seconds, ahead of Ireen Wust’s 38.82. The Dutch ace, who also came second in the 3,000, sits behind Takagi on 79.438 points with her compatriot Antoinette de Jong third on 80.188.
Takagi, who finished sixth at the meet last year, had her favorite 1,500 meters as well as the 5,000 — a distance she has not raced much this term — remaining on Sunday as she bids to become the first Japanese female skater to secure a podium finish in 17 years.
“The 500 proved I had good concentration and preparation, but the 3,000 didn’t unfold well and I’m frustrated,” Takagi said. “This is the first time I sit atop midway through, and my condition isn’t bad. The 5,000 can throw up anything and I’ll give my best again tomorrow.”
Ayano Sato sits eighth and Miho’s elder sister Nana Takagi 11th for Japan.
Shota Nakamura topped the men’s 500 logging 36.00 seconds, but his 15th-place finish in the 5,000 sees him put him in eighth ahead of the 1,500 and 15,000 on Sunday. Eight-time champion Sven Kramer leads the standings as the Dutch currently occupy all top-three spots.