Takamasa Anai got the men’s team off to an adrenaline rush with a victory over Dutchman Henk Grol in the 100-kg final on the opening day of the world judo championships Thursday.
Right out of the gate, the result was already better than last year in Rotterdam when the Japanese men finished with no gold medals for the first time since the introduction of the multiweight class system at the 1965 Rio de Janeiro meet.
Anai, who had lost in his previous three international meets, avenged himself after finishing with the bronze last year, beating Grol on points with his attacking style at Yoyogi national gymnasium.
Mika Sugimoto made it a golden double for the host with a win in the women’s over 78-kg class, beating Qin Qian on four shido warnings against the Chinese wrestler in the final.
Akari Ogata took bronze at 78 kg while Olympic silver medalist Maki Tsukada won bronze at over 78 kg.