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Former world judo champ Anai to retire

Kyodo

Former world champion Takamasa Anai said Sunday he will draw the curtain on his career after competing in the men’s under 100-kg category in Monday’s All Japan Judo Championship at Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan.

Anai, who crashed out in a second-round match to see his bid for gold end in heartbreak at the 2012 London Olympics, said that he had been mentally and physically worn down in the buildup to London in explaining his reasons for calling it quits.

“I became totally engrossed in training for the Olympics. It was mentally and physically exhausting. I need to bring an end to this,” said Anai.

The 28-year-old, winner of the 2010 world championship, took a position as an assistant judo coach at his alma mater Tenri University earlier this month and has been studying in the graduate program at Nara University of Education to become an instructor.

“I want to bet everything I have as I make my determination to compete on the mat in my last fight in judo,” said Anai.

After his disappointment in London, the Oita native withdrew his designation as a top athlete for the All Japan Judo Federation last fall and has not competed on the world stage since.

“This tournament is a very emotional one for me,” said Anai, referring to the All Japan Judo Championship he won in 2009. “This will be the place where I can really show my gratitude for all the support people have given me over the years.”