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Miho Takagi cruises to 1,500 silver on final day of worlds

Kyodo

Pyeongchang Olympic silver medalist Miho Takagi finished second in the women’s 1,500-meter race on Sunday, the final day of the ISU World Single Distance Speed Skating Championships.

Takagi clocked 1 minute, 53.32 seconds at the Max Aicher Arena in Inzell for silver but was once again upstaged by Pyeongchang champion Ireen Wust of the Netherlands, who set a track record in 1:52.81. American Brittany Bowe took third in 1:53.36.

“I feel strongly that I was utterly defeated (facing Wust) this time. Even though I had my best race of the season, my opponent was strong,” Takagi said.

“I did everything I possibly could at this stage (of my career), so I’m pretty happy even with second place.”

The 24-year-old Japanese said she is looking forward to the World Sprint Championships in Heerenveen later this month, and hopes to defend her title in Calgary at March’s World Allround Championships.

Takagi’s older sister Nana finished 13th, while compatriot Ayano Sato was 16th. Sato finished fifth in the women’s mass start held shortly after midnight. Nana Takagi, the mass start gold medalist in Pyeongchang, was 15th.

Pyeongchang bronze medalist Irene Schouten of the Netherlands won the irony-filled race. Last year, in Pyeongchang, Takagi and South Korea’s Kim Bo Reum were second and third behind Schouten going into the final corner. Each moved up a place on the podium, however, when Schouten slipped on the final turn and skated wide.

On Sunday, Schouten made no mistakes but Takagi got tangled up with Kim and was unable to make up the lost time. Kim finished last.

“This is what mass start is,” Takagi said. “I gave it my best shot.”

In the men’s 1,500, Japan’s Seitaro Ichinohe narrowly missed the podium and finished fourth in a personal best 1:43.54, while Thomas Krol set a track record with 1:42.58 for gold. Japan’s Masaya Yamada was 10th and Takuro Oda was 12th.

“I’m happy with this,” Ichinohe said. “Overall there weren’t any bad areas. I skated a much faster time than I had expected.”

Ichinohe was fifth in the men’s mass start, while Shane Williamson was 17th.