• Kyodo

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Midori Shintani saved the blushes for Japan by winning the women’s open category Sunday, giving her country its only gold medal in women’s competition at the World Judo Championships.

Shintani rebounded from an early point deficit to beat European champion Karina Bryant of Britain with a superbly executed reverse leg trip with 16 seconds left in the final as she won her first major international title.

The result capped Shintani’s impressive run of ippon wins in all four matches on the final day of individual events and increased Japan’s gold medal tally at the championships to three in 16 categories — eight each for men and women.

Japan also won five silvers and three bronzes, including the bronze Yohei Takai took in the men’s open class earlier in the day.

“I just tried to give everything I’ve got to the final,” Shintani said. “A lot of people helped me get where I am now and I want to dedicate this gold to them for all they have done for me.”

The victory was all the more sweet for the 25-year-old, who suffered career-threatening torn ligaments in her right knee at the 2002 Asian Games, one year after finishing runnerup in the over 78-kg class at the world championships.

Shintani had since failed to compete at the international level with a series of losses to Japanese rivals.

Japan denied

CAIRO (Kyodo) The Japanese men went down to archrival South Korea 3-2 in the final of the men’s team event Monday, settling for silver for the second time running at the World Judo Championships.

The Japanese women’s team, the gold medal winner at the 2003 world championships in Osaka, took bronze with a win over China following a semifinal loss to South Korea.

In the men’s final at Cairo Stadium, Jong Bu Kyong beat 66-kg silver medalist Masato Uchishiba in the opening match before Japan replied when 73-kg reserve Yusuke Kanamaru downed Kim Jae Bun.

Kim Min Gu then toppled Takashi Ono in an 81-kg duel and Hwang Hee Tae gave South Korea a 3-1 lead in the best-of-five matchup with a point victory over newly crowned 90-kg world champion Hiroshi Izumi.

Hwang took advantage of a commanding point lead he had early on against Izumi, whose late comeback attempt proved too little too late.

Over 100-kg silver medal winner Yasuyuki Muneta claimed a consolation victory for Japan in the final match.

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