Japan dominates on first day of the Tokyo Grand Slam

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By Euronews
Japan dominates on first day of the Tokyo Grand Slam

Pedro Lasuén, euronews: “The World Judo Tour is drawing to a close and it’s time for competitors to wrap up the season in style. After 10 Grand Prix, 5 Grand Slams, the World Masters in Mexico and the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, judokas from around the world battled it out where the competition began, here at the Tokyo Grand Slam.”

Natsumi Tsunoda shines on home soil

Natsumi Tsunoda gave the home crowd something to cheer about in the under 52 kilo final when she stunned compatriot Uta Abe with an impressive ippon. The 24-year-old was made to battle hard in the preliminary round as she narrowly defeated Belgium’s Charline Van Snick.

Tsunoda then stepped it up a gear in the semis against Ai Shishime before tapping out her rival in the showpiece match, en route to a hard-fought win.

The bronze medals were won by Rina Tatsukawa and Shishime of Japan.

Yoshida retains her title

In the under 57 kilo class, Tsukasa Yoshida retained her title as she beat former world champion Nae Udaka in a nail-biting final. Both judokas stayed solid in defense and were unable to trouble each other throughout the bout.

After six minutes of added time, Udaka was eventually penalised for passivity as Yoshida secured her fifth Grand Slam title.

Ryuju Nagayama and Hifumi Abe delight home crowd

The Japanese national anthem rang out again in the under 60 kilo category as Ryuju Nagayama outclassed Rio Olympic bronze medallist Naohisa Takato.

The Junior world champion, who dominated Brazil’s Felipe Kitadai in the semi-final, looked in great shape and overcame a nervous start to stun his fellow countryman thanks to this superb uchi-mata with 44 seconds left on the clock.

Former Youth Olympic Games winner Hifumi Abe reigned supreme in the under 66 kilo class as he edged out former Astana Grand Prix winner Yuuki Hashiguchi.

The 19-year-old proved too strong for compatriot Tomofumi Takajo in the semi-final and carried his momentum into the final with a superb display which culminated with a perfectly taken tai-otoshi for ippon.

Surprise of the day

The surprise of the day goes to Olympic champion Fabio Basile who was dumped out of the competition by Norihito Isoda in the preliminary round. The local hope completely dominated the Italian, en route to an impressive second-place finish.

Move of the day

The move of the day comes from Japan’s Ai Shishime, who produced a stunnng ippon to best Russia’s Zarina Babinyam in the under 52 kilo category.