• Kyodo


Miho Takagi won the season’s first World Cup women’s 1,500-meter race on Saturday, while compatriots Nao Kodaira and Ayano Sato claimed titles in the women’s 500-meter race and women’s mass start, respectively.

Takagi completed her distance in 1 minute, 54.68 seconds, 0.76 second faster than the runner-up, Sochi Olympic champion Jorien ter Mors of the Netherlands. Four Dutch skaters finished second to fifth.

“The way I planned out my race was good, and I’m happy that I finished in 1 minute and 54-plus seconds,” Takagi said. “But, I want to continue doing what I always have without being overconfident.”

Kodaira and Sato, who also participated in the event, finished seventh in 1:57.16 and 19th in 2:00.20 in the 20-person field, respectively.

In other races, Kodaira extended her winning streak in the women’s 500 meters to 18 when she breezed to victory in 37.33. Two-time defending Olympic champion Lee Sang-hwa (37.53) of South Korea won silver and Arisa Go (37.88) took bronze.

“I lead early in the race so I was able to concentrate on my own skating,” said the 31-year-old Kodaira, who also won the season-opening 500-meter race on Friday. “I want to concentrate on finishing the race with a better time.”

In the women’s mass start event, Sato topped the podium by scoring 60 points as she finished in 8:31.12. Canadian Ivanie Blondin scored 40 points and crossed the line 0.04 second later, followed by Italian Francesca Lollobrigida, who earned 23 points with a 8:31.37 finish.

“I’m really happy with (the victory) and it was a good experience,” said Sato, who claimed her first World Cup title in an individual event. “But, it was a race that also showed my weak points. I want to make full use of what I learned today.”

Canadian Laurent Dubreuil (34.80) won the men’s 500-meter race. Jan Smeekens (34.84) of the Netherlands and compatriot Ronald Mulder (34.85) were second and third, respectively.

Daichi Yamanaka (35.00) was sixth, while fellow Japanese Ryohei Haga was 10th.

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