Nomura falters in invitational semis


Three-time Olympic champion Tadahiro Nomura was sent to a shock defeat in the men’s 60-kg semifinals and Hiroaki Hiraoka took advantage to win his first title at the National Weight Class Invitational Tournament on Saturday. Nomura beat Shinta Toyoda in overtime in his first match only to be sent tumbling to the mat in his next bout by Daisuke Asano’s “seoinage” shoulder throw that was worth a decisive “waza-ari” point, leaving him in a precarious position as he aims to book a spot at this summer’s Beijing Olympics. “Right now all I feel is shock and a sense of worthlessness,” said Nomura. “I don’t know what the heck I was doing out there. I didn’t fight like a challenger. I really want to go to the Olympics, but the decision is up to the judo federation.” Hiraoka, winner of the Paris Super World Cup title in February, beat Asano in the final, while Athens Olympic gold medalist Masato Uchishiba won his first title in three years in the men’s 66 kg. World bronze medalist Yusuke Kanamaru and Takashi Ono emerged winners in the men’s 73 kg and 81 kg, respectively, at Fukuoka Kokusai Center.