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Nao Kodaira zooms to victory in women's 500 in Calgary

Kyodo

Nao Kodaira won the women’s 500 meters in a speedskating World Cup meet on Saturday, a day after prevailing in the 1,000 for the first time since November 2018.

Kodaira clocked 36.65 seconds at the Olympic Oval for her 27th victory in a World Cup event and 32nd including 1,000-meter races. Her compatriots Arisa Go and Maki Tsuji finished sixth and seventh, respectively.

“Times are getting lower on these high-speed rinks, so I’m adjusting,” said Kodaira, who owns the 36.39-second track record. “If I can fuse with the ice more on the second curve, I’ll get faster.”

The 33-year-old said she was looking forward to matching her age with one more World Cup victory.

In other events, Miho Takagi topped the podium in the women’s 1,500 with a time of 1 minute 50.33 seconds, a new track record.

“My body was pretty tired from the 500-meter (Division B race in the morning), but I recovered well,” said Takagi, who collected her ninth World Cup win at the distance and 11th individual title.

In the men’s 1,000, Masaya Yamada set a new Japan record of 1:07.34 but had to settle for seventh.

“It was good to put out a Japanese record but overall I made a lot of mistakes,” Yamada said. “I thought I was getting better and I could win.”

Riku Tsuchiya finished 10th for Japan’s best finish in the men’s 5,000.

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