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Martina Sablikova overtakes Miho Takagi to win allround speedskating world title


Miho Takagi fell short in her bid for back-to-back titles at the World Allround Speed Skating Championships on Sunday, finishing second behind the Czech Republic’s Martina Sablikova.

Defending champion Takagi came into the final day of competition in Calgary with the overall lead, having won Saturday’s 500-meter race by a wide margin before finishing eighth in the 3,000.

Sablikova was in second place overnight after winning the 3,000 at the 1988 Olympic Oval in a world record 3 minutes, 53.31 seconds.

Takagi, 24, took Sunday’s 1,500 in a time of 1:52.8 to maintain her lead going into the 5,000, the final event of the competition.

But two-time Olympic 5,000 gold medalist Sablikova came home strong in her favored event, winning in 6:42.01 to update her own world record. Takagi finished eighth in 7:02.72.

The 31-year-old Sablikova totaled 156.306 points, while Takagi took silver with 156.878. Bronze medalist Antoinette de Jong of the Netherlands finished 0.962 point off Takagi’s score.

“I didn’t have enough strength over the four races,” Takagi said. “The overwhelming difference between me and Sablikova was clearly visible. It’s very frustrating.”

Takagi’s older sister Nana and Ayano Sato finished 11th and 13th overall for Japan, respectively.

Patrick Roest of the Netherlands defended his title in the men’s event, finishing with a total of 145.561. Japan’s Riku Tsuchiya and Ryosuke Tsuchiya were 10th and 13th, respectively.

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