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Miho Takagi claims first 1,500-meter gold of season

Kyodo

Miho Takagi clinched her first gold of the season when she cruised to victory in the 1,500 meters on the third stop of the ISU World Cup circuit on Saturday in Poland.

Takagi, the silver medalist in the women’s 1,500 at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February, crossed the finish line at Arena Lodowa in 1 minute, 57.32 seconds with Olympic champion Ireen Wust of the Netherlands coming home 0.89 seconds later for silver. Brittany Bowe of the United States was third.

“I aimed for maximum glide this time and achieved that. It was a fruitful experience,” Takagi said.

“I have to be able to do that constantly in my next race and will try to get more speed as well,” she said.

Takagi won all four of the 1,500 races she skated in during the last World Cup season, but settled for silver in the first two races of this season, which were both held in Japan.

Earlier in the men’s 1,500 meters, Seitaro Ichinohe earned the silver for his first podium finish in the event won by Russia’s Denis Yuskov in 1:46.78.

The 22-year-old Ichinohe, who last month finished fifth in the World Cup in Obihiro and fourth in the World Cup in Tomakomai, both in Japan, clocked 1:47.38 after recording the fastest split (28.29 seconds) in the final lap.

“I thought if I give it my best I would have a shot at the podium. If it had all gone according to plan I could’ve made the top spot. In that sense it’s disappointing, but I’ll carry this (momentum) over to the next race,” Ichinohe said.

Elsewhere on the second day of the three-day competition, Tatsuya Shinhama, Yuma Murakami and Ryohei Haga finished second, third and fourth, respectively, in the men’s 500 meters.

World record holder Pavel Kulizhnikov of Russia, who won the 500 and 1,000 on Friday, won the second 500 meters race in a track record time of 34.67 seconds.

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