• Kyodo


Masae Ueno succeeded in defending her title in the women’s under-70 kg weight category by completing a clean “ippon” on the second day of the World Judo Championships on Friday, giving host Japan its fourth gold in the four-day meet at Osaka.

News photoJapan’s Masae Ueno forces Cuba’s Regia Leyen Zuleta to the mat.

The 24-year-old Ueno, winner of the women’s single-weight category nationals this year, defeated Regla Leyen Zulueta of Cuba 48 seconds into the match at Osakajo Hall by using her trademark “ouchigari” foot sweep to flip over the 2001 world bronze medalist.

“I tried to stay calm and fight my own judo. I didn’t think about back-to-back titles, but concentrated on winning one match at a time. I’ve been through some tough times, but I can say now it was worth it all,” said Ueno who cruised through all five matches with “ippon” victories, four with ground-fighting (newaza) wins.

Germany’s Florian Wanner beat Sergei Aschwanden of Switzerland for his first world title in the men’s under-81 kg while Yoshihiro Akiyama, who allowed Wanner to come from behind and snatch victory with six seconds remaining in the pool final, had to settle for fifth place.

Akiyama, a Korean resident of Japan, grew up in Osaka and became a Japanese citizen two years ago. He was making his first appearance in the worlds.

In the women’s under-63 kg final, unheralded Daniela Krukower earned Argentina’s first gold by tripping Cuba’s Driulis Gonzalez with a “tani-otoshi” and in the men’s under-90 kg final, Hwang Hee Tae of South Korea won the gold over Zurab Zviadauri of Georgia.

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