• Kyodo News

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Masato Uchishiba, who successfully defended back-to-back Olympic titles in the men’s 66-kg category, hopes to take part in the open-weight national championships in April, sources close to the judoka said Sunday.

Uchishiba took the title at Grand Slam Paris judo meet early last month but was sidelined with inflammation in his jaw for the subsequent World Cup meet in Warsaw.

According to a source from Uchishiba’s alma mater, Kokushikan University, he is training to compete in the national weight-class invitational tournament on April 4-5 at Fukuoka Kokusai Center and the national championships on April 29 at Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan.

Aside from judoka who qualify in their respective districts for the national championships, Olympic champions receive invitations the following year to take part in the nationals.

Uchishiba appeared in the 2005 nationals following his gold-medal winning performance at the Athens Games but lost his first match.

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