• Kyodo News


Athens Olympic super heavyweight judo champion Keiji Suzuki is eager to get back on the international stage and hopes to kick-start his bid to return to the top with victory at the upcoming national championships.

“I want to wrestle in international competition again and I want to deliver results at the nationals so I can do that,” Suzuki told a news conference Tuesday.

“The more I practice, the more I feel uneasy and the only way to get my confidence back is win this competition,” said the two-time world champion.

The April 29 championships at Nippon Budokan, contested as an open-weight meet, will be Suzuki’s first official competition since he made a first first-round exit in the men’s 100 kg class at the Beijing Olympics.

Suzuki was hoping to become an Olympic champion in two weight categories last year, having clinched the gold in the over 100-kg division at the Athens Games in 2004.

But the 28-year-old lost his first match to eventual gold-medal winner Tuvshinbayar Naidan of Mongolia before crashing out in the repechage. He later hinted he would retire from competitive judo but decided to continue in the sport last October.

“I did at one point think about retiring but I want to be satisfied with myself before I quit.”

Suzuki was beaten by archrival Satoshi Ishii in the over 100-kg final in last year’s nationals.

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