Miho Takagi (JPN) posted her third consecutive 1500m World Cup victory, her winning time of 1 minute 51.79 seconds breaking the Japanese national record by more than two seconds. Marrit Leenstra (NLD) took silver in a Dutch national record and Yekaterina Shikhova clinched bronze in a Russian national record.
Leenstra was the first skater to break the 1:53 barrier in Calgary on Sunday. With 1:52.06 she shaved 0.02 seconds off Ireen Wüst’s 2013 Dutch record in the fourth pairing.
Wüst skated in the seventh pair. She matched Leenstra’s pace early but had to give way after the 700m mark and finished in 1:53.89 to take fourth place.
Shikhova clocked 1:53.52 in the sixth pairing, breaking Yuliya Skokova’s 2013 Russian record of 1:53.87 in the process. Skokova herself had to settle for 1:54.66 and sixth place.
With only Leenstra under 1:53, World Cup leader Takagi took the ice against Lotte van Beek (NED) in the final pairing.
The Japanese skater headed Van Beek straight away but was slightly behind Leenstra’s time at the 700m and 1100m marks. Takagi was the only one to manage a final sub-30-second lap, however, and that was enough for gold.
With 1:51.79 she crushed Misaki Oshigiri’s 2015 Japanese record of: 1.54.10.
Despite losing by a small margin, Leenstra was satisfied with her performance
“I often felt that I could do better and now I’m very happy that I finally managed to skate a very good race again.
“Last week it really looked as if she [Takagi] was way better than the rest, but now you see that I can be very close if I skate well.”
With three wins and 300 points, Takagi leads the 1500m World Cup standings. Van Beek, who came 15th in Calgary, is second with 154 points and Antoinette de Jong (NED), who was seventh in Calgary, is third with 126.