CHELYABINSK, RUSSIA – Karen Nun Ira won the silver medal in the women’s under-70 kg class on Friday, the fifth day of the World Judo Championships.
The 23-year-old Nun Ira, making her first appearance at the world championships and ranked 38th in the world, defeated Croatia’s Barbara Matic in the semifinals before losing by ippon on a minor inner reap move to defending champion Yuri Alvear of Colombia.
“I could do nothing but attack head on and go for all I was worth,” said Nun Ira, who has a Japanese mother and a Ghanaian father. “I thought that if my opponent were able to counter, there was little I could do.”
It was Japan’s best result in the weight class at the worlds since Masae Ueno won the gold in 2003.
Matthew Baker, wrestling for Japan in the men’s under-90 kg class, crashed out in the second round, while Ruika Sato was knocked out in the third round of the women’s under-78 kg division.