Stavanger / Norway

Miho Takagi (JPN) claimed her second 1500m gold medal this season in Stavanger on Saturday. Heather Bergsma (USA) took silver and Lotte van Beek (NED) grabbed the bronze medal.

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Takagi made the difference in her final lap. Paired with Lotte van Beek in the final race, the 23-year-old Japanese skater was 0.36 seconds behind Bergsma’s time at 1100m, but she finished 1.18 seconds ahead of the American lady in 1 minute, 55.30 seconds.

Takagi skated 30.9s in her final lap, while Bergsma needed 32.4s for the final 400 meters and van Beek 31.8s.

Bergsma, whose 25.1s over the opening 300m was the fastest of the entire field , crossed the line at 1:56.48.Van Beek finished in 1:57.51.

Although Takagi, as an endurance skater, doesn’t train with sprint queen Nao Kodaira (JPN), the success of her compatriot is an inspiration.

“We both have good results this season. We push each other to a higher level,” Takagi said.

“My goal this season is the Olympic Games. I can still do better than I’ve shown here, especially in the corners. I need to gain more speed in the corners.”

Silver medalist Bergsma is slowly but confidently working on her form.

“The opener and the first lap were what I expected. I still have some work to do on the last lap, but it comes.

“I need a little more rest. I did two [skating] marathons before the season and last weekend a Mass Start. It all adds up. Once I rest a little, my laps will become better.

Full results and classifications here

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