Japanese men triumphed in all three judo weight classes contested Saturday at the Grand Slam Tokyo meet, making it 5-for-5 after two days of competition.
Hiroyuki Akimoto snapped a yearlong title drought with a win over Russia’s Mansur Isaev in the 73-kg final at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.
Akimoto, who narrowly lost to eventual title winner Riki Nakaya in the semifinals at the world championships in Paris in August, scored an ippon victory over his domestic rival by deploying a “seoinage” shoulder throw in a semifinal match.
“It was a long, long time without a title victory, and I was about to lose my self-confidence,” Akimoto said. “This title only got me to the starting line. I’ll try to win the race for an Olympic berth against Nakaya and then win a gold medal in London.”