On day five of the 2018 World Judo Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan, four-time Grand Slam gold medallist Chizuru Arai of Japan successfully retained her world title and red backpatch.
So far, all 13 Japanese judoka who have competed in these World championships have won medals. Japan is the only country to have achieved this amazing feat.
In the final of the women's under 70kg category, Arai faced off against four-time Grand Prix winner Marie Eve Gahie of France. Arai initially fell behind to a waza-ari from Gahie, but in true champion fashion, and with the fanatical Japanese supporters urging her on, she replied with an uchi-mata for a waza-ari score. Aria followed up with a hold down to win gold.
This was Japan’s fifth gold in Baku and it was a hugely emotional moment for Arai, as she became a double world champion.
Francesco Ricci Bitti, President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations, presented Arai with her gold medal.
"My goal for this tournament was to win the double. So to be able to achieve that was a great honour," Arai said in an interview.
"Well, there were a few emotions going through my mind. Firstly, having the waza ari against me at the start, I knew I had to go for everything, and then to be able to overcome that, and win, my feelings just overcame me at that moment. Also, achieving what I wanted to achieve, I became very emotional," she added.
Unstoppable Sherazadishvili wins historic gold for Spain
IJF Head Refereeing Director Mr Juan Carlos Barcos presented gold to Spain’s world number three Nikoloz Sherazadishvili, who made history for his country as he was crowned the first male judoka from Spain to win a senior world judo title.
Sherazadishvili was unstoppable, taking out champion after champion along the way.
In the final, he went head to head with Cuba’s Ivan Silva Morales in a compelling contest. Silva Morales broke the deadlock with a waza-ari score but Sherazadishvili restored the final to level terms with a waza-ari of his own.
In golden score, the Spaniard settled the destination of the under 90kg title as he threw with an uchi-mata for gold, making history, and sparking scenes of jubilation.
"It’s unbelievable, really it’s unbelievable. I’m not alone, I came here with my coach, with my club, and with the Spanish federation. And now I’m so happy, I’m so happy," an ecstatic Sherazadishvili said in an interview after winning the historic world title.
Moment of the day
The moment of the day came as both Korean teams trained together, to prepare themselves to compete as one delegation in three days time in the World team championships. Two countries, one team - this is judo.