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Sugimoto claims first national title

Kyodo

Double world champion Mika Sugimoto scored an ippon against Kumiko Hagiwara in the open weight category final to claim her first crown at the women’s national championship on Sunday.

The 26-year-old Sugimoto, who won world titles at over-78 kg and in the open weight class at last year’s judo world championships in Tokyo, pinned world bronze medalist Hagiwara to the mat for the win at Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium.

The national championship doubled as a final qualifier for a spot in the women’s over-78 kg class for the worlds to be held in Paris this August.

It was a changing of the guard with Sugimoto becoming the latest national champion since Maki Tsukada retired last year after winning nine consecutive titles. Sugimoto won four of five matches by ippon.

Megumi Tachimoto, who is the world No. 1 ranked at over-78 kg and was a favorite to win the title, lost to Akari Ogata in her first match of the day in the second round.