What better place could there be for Judo’s next generation than the World Championships at Nippon Budokan, to learn the art of the Gentle Way. And what better a teacher than Shohei Ono to show them the way.
On the tatami, everyone predicted that Japan’s current Olympic Champion would reach his final on day 3 at the 2019 World Championships. And everyone was prepared for a spectacular demonstration, while those who were expecting ippons, got floods.
Shohei Ono proved why he is still the king of the -73kg category and our rightful Man of the Day, after dismantling all of his opposition throughout the day.
The final was to be a repeat of the 2016 Olympic Games, where he would be up against Azerbaijan’s Rustam Orujov. The outcome would be the same, with Ono reigning supreme, gaining his 3rd World title, to add to his Olympic title.
Is there anyone who can dethrone the king or is he set for a second Olympic title next year at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics? For the time being Ono seems light years ahead.
Mr Kenichiro Yokomizo, General Manager of the Sports Division of Hakuhodo DY Media Partners got to award Ono his medal.
"It was not easy at all. And these championships were held in my home country, and I heard a lot of people saying that 'Ono would win', so I knew that there was huge expectation. So I took this pressure and turned it into my strength in order to win," said Shohei Ono in an interview.
Judo for all
The good thing about Judo is that it’s not only a man’s world.
Canadian Christa Deguchi was among the favourites in the -57kg category. And now we know she didn't come to Tokyo for a holiday. She had been sensational all day and looked in prime shape for a showdown with reigning World Champion Tsukasa Yoshida of Japan.
In what was a close fought contest, it was Deguchi who rose to the occasion, throwing her Japanese opponent with a counter for a decisive waza-ari in Golden score, giving Deguchi and Canada their first ever World Championship title, and putting her in the pole position for the 2020 Olympic crown.
Vice President of the International Judo Federation and President of the Judo Union of Asia, Mr Obeid Al Anzi, presented the -57kg champion her medal.
"I tried my best but it wasn't at my pace, it was her pace at the full time and when the golden score started I was getting more and more tired and I didn't know what I was doing, but I think the reason I won is I knew I couldn’t let her have the gold medal. The last throw wasn't technically good from me, it was just, I don’t know, I moved - I didn't expect I would do that. I think I did great but still I have lots of stuff to work on," said Christa Deguchi in an interview.
Move of the Day
As for our Move of the Day, to keep the same level of performance, we selected a harai goshi from Chinese Taipei’s Lien Chen-Ling in her second round contest against Tunisia's Ghofran Khelifi.
Finally, at the end of Day 3 of the 2019 World Championships, host nation Japan continued to comfortably top the medals standings with three golds, two silvers and three bronzes, followed by Ukraine, Canada and Georgia, each with one gold apiece.