• Kyodo


Miho Takagi won the women’s 1,500-meter race Saturday in the World Cup speed skating event at the Utah Olympic Oval, while compatriot Nao Kodaira stayed unbeaten in the women’s 500 meters.

Takagi finished first with a Japanese national record of 1 minute, 51.49 seconds, while Marrit Leenstra of the Netherlands was runner-up, 0.82 second back. Russian Yekaterina Shikhova took third with 1:52.86.

The 23-year-old Takagi has claimed seven victories in individual events on the World Cup circuit. She won the 1,500 meters and 3,000 meters earlier this month in Calgary.

“I wanted to bring my pace up earlier in the race, so there’s some frustration,” said Takagi. “But I think my training over the years is building up.”

In the women’s 500 meters, Kodaira crossed the finish line in 36.54 seconds, 0.04 behind the national record she set the previous day. World record holder Lee Sang-hwa of South Korea settled for silver with 36.79, and Arisa Go (37.05) took bronze.

“I’ve never had such a disappointing victory because I was aiming for (the world record),” said Kodaira. “I feel like my skills are still insufficient.”

Kodaira has won 23 straight women’s 500s in both domestic and international competition. She has won 15 consecutive World Cup events at the distance.

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