Japan sets record in team pursuit

The Japan women’s trio, sisters Miho and Nana Takagi and Ayano Sato, won the team pursuit in a world-record time on the opening day of the ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships on Friday.

The team crossed the finish line at the Utah Olympic Oval in 2 minutes, 50.76 seconds, beating the Netherlands and Canada and shaving 0.11 seconds off its own world record set in the same venue in December 2017.

The Takagi sisters and Sato were also part of the gold medal-winning team at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

“We had really fast lap times from the start, but each of us did what was required and persevered to the end,” Nana Takagi said.

Younger sister Miho Takaagi echoed that sentiment.

“This is the result of us designing a well-controlled training program and bringing ourselves to peak condition for this competition,” she said.

Later, Nao Kodaira added another speedskating gold for Japan, in the women’s 500 meters. Kodaira clocked 36.69 seconds for her second 500 title at the World Single Distances Championships.

Russians Angelina Golikova and Olga Fatkulina placed second and third, respectively.

“I struggled to find my rhythm because of the delayed start time, but I focused and did the best I could,” Kodaira said. “I guess you have to be really lucky to have the perfect conditions that allow for a world record to be broken.”

South Korea’s Lee Sang-hwa holds the 500-meter world record of 36.36.

In the men’s 500, Tatsuya Shinhama took third with a time of 34.03 while Pavel Kulizhnikov led Russia to a 1-2 finish in 33.72, followed by Ruslan Murashov.

In the men’s 10,000, Canada’s Graeme Fish placed first with a world-record time of 12:33.86. Ryosuke Tsuchiya, who placed fifth, broke the Japan national record (12:55.62).

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