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Nao Kodaira opened the new season on a strong note Friday, topping the podium in the women’s 500 meters at the Japan Cup.

The Pyeongchang Olympic gold medal-winning speedskater, competing in her first official meet of the season, won the race in 37.78 seconds at M-Wave ice arena. Miho Takagi, who earned three medals at the 2018 Games, finished second 0.19 seconds behind her.

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