HEERENVEEN, NETHERLANDS – Nao Kodaira won three of four individual events she entered in the season-opening round of the speedskating World Cup, finishing off the weekend with a victory in the women’s 1,000 meters on Sunday.
Kodaira, who topped the timesheet in her Friday and Saturday skates over 500 meters, clocked 1 minute, 13.99 seconds at the Thialf ice stadium while compatriot Miho Takagi was runner-up in 1:14.45. Jorien ter Mors of the Netherlands took third.
For the 31-year-old sprint specialist Kodaira, it was her first World Cup victory in the 1,000.
“Going under 1 minute, 14 seconds on this rink is not bad considering the (low) altitude,” said Kodaira, whose time was 0.09 seconds off the track record.
“There’s still a lot that has to be done but I reached the mark I had in mind before the season started so it will boost my motivation for the next race,” she said.
Over the event’s three days, Japan’s women earned eight medals, including Takagi’s gold in the 1,500 and Ayano Sato’s gold in the mass start.
Takagi’s efforts over 1,000, 1,500 and 3,000 put her atop the overall women’s World Cup standings with 240 points, 40 ahead of Kodaira in second.
The World Cup round in the Netherlands was the first international meet of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic season.