Tokyo Grand Slam Day 2: Japan Takes 3
The Women’s -63kg and -70kg and men’s -73kg and -81kg categories saw their participants in action on Saturday for day two of Judo Grand Slam Tokyo 2016.
Austrian Kathrin Unterwurzacher, who earned a silver medal at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, took home a gold medal by winning the women’s -63kg category. The second gold medal she has won in her career, Unterwurzacher defeated a former junior world champion in Japan’s Miho Minei. Unterwurzacher took advantage of the lesser experienced Minei by continuing to attack until she used a yuko en route to her biggest career victory.
"I’m very proud to win this gold medal today, this event is very special and it has always been my ambition to win in Tokyo," Unterwurzacher said. "It is very difficult fighting Japanese judoka here but I prepared very well for this event and I am absolutely thrilled."
The women’s -70kg category saw an all-Japan finals, as Saki Niizoe took on Chizuru Arai, who won the Tyumen Grand Slam. Niizoe put pressure on Arai from the get-go, going on to earn the victory and a gold medal.
Another all-Japan final came in the men’s -73kg category, as Soichi Hashimoto faced Takeshi Doi, who was making his Grand Slam debut. The bout came down to shido penalties, where Hashimoto won 0:2.
Japan took home one more gold medal, as Takanori Nagase defeated Germany’s Dominic Ressel to win the gold medal in the men’s -81kg category. This is the third gold medal Nagase has earned in Tokyo in the past four years. Nagase performed a yuko into a ne-waza before locking his opponent into a tate-shiho-gatame hold for 20 seconds to earn the victory.
“I’m very pleased to win today as everyone cheered for me and I was happy to give them this win," Nagase said. "After Rio 2016 I was not able to concentrate at all but after I was entered for this event I became focused and determined to show the world my best judo.”