Photo/IllutrationNao Kodaira, center, holds her gold medal in the 500 meters at the speedskating World Cup in Calgary, Canada, on Dec. 3. (Issei Sakakibara)

  • Photo/Illustraion

CALGARY, Canada--Two Japanese women set national records on Dec. 3 to win their events at the speedskating World Cup here and secure their tickets for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

On the last day of competition in Calgary, Nao Kodaira completed her 500-meter skate in a time of 36.53 seconds, scraping 0.22 second off her own Japanese record. It was her 13th consecutive World Cup win in the event dating back to last season, and her 16th overall World Cup victory.

“I was not in my best condition as I stumbled in 1,000-meter event the previous day, but I am glad I could renew my own record,” Kodaira said.

Miho Takagi shattered the previous national record in the 1,500-meter event by a whopping 2.31 seconds, finishing at 1:51.79. It was her third consecutive win since the start of this year’s World Cup season.

“I was excited when I learned that I marked 1:51,” she said.

Kodaira and Takagi have now secured spots on speedskating team that will represent Japan in the Winter Games next year in South Korea, according to the Japan Skating Federation’s selection criteria.