CALGARY, ALBERTA – Japan won the women’s team pursuit event in a new world-record time at a speedskating World Cup meet on Saturday.
Miho Takagi, her older sister Nana and Ayaka Kikuchi secured victory in 2 minutes, 53.88 seconds, rewriting the record of 2:55.77 that the Takagi sisters and Ayano Sato set in the Netherlands last month.
It was Japan’s second win in as many meets and extended to five victories — a winning streak that started last season.
The Japanese team faced the Netherlands (Antoinette de Jong, Marrit Leenstra and Lotte van Beek) in the final pairing and they kept the Dutch women at bay, heading into the final 200 meters with a 1.29-second advantage.
Van Beek crashed on her way to the finish line and Japan crossed first.
Japan finished atop the standings ahead of Germany, which took second with 2:56.76. Canada was third with 2:56.80.
“We have trained together for years now and we have all improved individually this year,” Miho Takagi told the International Skating Union’s website.
She did not want to look forward to what is in store for next week’s World Cup event in Salt Lake City.
“I don’t know who will skate next week,” Takagi said. “This race was not perfect. The last time we skated in this particular line-up was three years ago and we were not able to execute everything perfectly today.
“We have four members in our team and we want to bring it up to a level where it doesn’t matter which line-up we actually skate in.”
In the women’s 1,000 meters, Nao Kodaira fell coming off a bend and finished in 20th and last place with a time of 2:05.88, while Takuro Oda was 11th in the men’s 1,000 in 1:07.83.
The Japanese men’s pursuit team of Shota Nakamura, Shane Williamson and Seitaro Ichinohe set a national record of 3:38.65 to place second.
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