• Kyodo

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Maki Tsukada scored an “ippon” victory over rival Midori Shintani in the over-78 kg final at the women’s national championships Sunday to clinch a berth for this summer’s Athens Olympics.

Tsukada became the third woman to win three consecutive national titles, using a “yokoshiho-gatame” side body pin to subdue Shintani four minutes and six seconds into the match at Aichi Martial Arts Gymnasium in Nagoya.

Tsukada was impressive against Shintani, who injured her left shoulder midway through the match, and throughout the tournament in which she won all of her matches by ippon. Mizuho Matsuzaki, the winner of the 78-kg title at the international meet in Germany, lost to Tsukada in the semifinal.

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