Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan


Angelina Golikova (RUS) led a Russian 1-2 in the ladies' 500m to start the second day of the ISU World Cup Speed Skating in Nur-Sultan on Saturday. Compatriot Daria Kachanova finished just 0.01 seconds behind her to take silver, while Nao Kodaira (JPN) had to settle for bronze. Another Russian, Olga Fatkulina, came fourth to retain her lead in the 500m World Cup ranking.

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Angelina Golikova (RUS) powers her way to victory in the 500m in Nur-Sultan 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)

Herzog only fifth

Vanessa Herzog (AUT) started in the first pair on her return to the A Division, after having been relegated two weeks ago due to a disqualification for two false starts in Minsk. The world champion skated 37.81 and was the only one under 38 seconds until Golikova and Fatkulina took the ice in the eighth of 10 pairings.

The Russian pair hammered out 37.58 and 37.74 respectively. Herzog would eventually end up fifth because Kodaira (37.72) was faster in the penultimate pair, as was Kachanova (37.60) in the last.

Russians hail team ethic

With Fatkulina on top, Kachanova in third and Golikova in fourth position in the 500m World Cup rankings, the Russians have dominated in the ladies' shortest distance at the first three meetings this season. Golikova praised her team-mates and coach Sergey Klevchenya (RUS) for the Russian success.

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Gold medalist Angelina Golikova (RUS) is flanked by compatriot Daria Kachanova and Nao Kodaira (JPN) 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)

"We've got three girls, Olga [Fatkulina], Daria [Kachanova] and myself," said Saturday's winner. "Every time we train, we look at each other. If one of us can do something, the others can do it too. We have a great friendship and we encourage each other.

"Our coach (Klevchenya) used to be a sprinter too. He won Olympic medals too (silver in the 500m and bronze in the 1000m at the Lillehammer Olympic Games in 1994). It's important to have a coach who's had his own career. When you think of your coach and you ask yourself: what does he know about winning? When we think of our coach we think: he knows how it is."

Defeat is driving Kodaira

Kodaira, who went unbeaten in 23 consecutive 500m races over the past two seasons, welcomed the competition. "Two years ago, I was always on top," said the Japanese. “The Russians are strong this year and that's good. The fact that I do not always win, is a good motivation."

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Japan's Noa Kodaira skating to her bronze medal in the 500m in the Alau Ice Palace 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)

The Olympic 500m champion skated a far from perfect race. "I had a mis-stroke at the start and after that I told myself just to try and execute my skating at best over the final 400m, which was OK. I stay positive."

Next week at the World Cup on home ice in Nagano, Kodaira hopes to shine again. "For the Russians it's a bit easier here [in Nur-Sultan], because they don't have a time difference. For us [the Japanese skaters] the difference is three hours and for the Europeans it's five hours, so they have a little bit of an advantage here. But nonetheless they are very strong this season."

ISU World Cup Speed Skating Standings 500m Ladies

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Where to Watch

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ISU World Cup Speed Skating Series 2019/20:

Minsk (BLR) - Nov 15 – 17

Tomaszów Mazowiecki (POL) – Nov 22 – 24

Nur-Sultan (KAZ) – Dec 6 – 8

Nagano (JPN) – Dec 13 – 15

Calgary (CAN) – Feb 7 – 8

Final – Heerenveen (NED) – Mar 7 - 8