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New politico Tani faces challenge

Kyodo News

After successfully winning a seat in the July 11 House of Councillors election, two-time Olympic gold medalist Ryoko Tani is now facing an uphill battle to earn back her status in the world of judo.

All Japan Judo Federation official Kazuo Yoshimura urged Tani on Saturday to win the Kodokan Cup national weight-class championships in November as a precondition for her to be even considered for the 2012 London Olympics.

Tani has stressed her determination to remain active in judo, while serving her six-year term as a lawmaker. The mother of two has not returned to competition since winning bronze in the 48-kg class at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

“Tani must first win the Kodokan Cup,” Yoshimura said. “To qualify for the London Olympics, she must also win at the world championships next year. She really needs to pull herself together and be focused.”