• Kyodo News


Takahiro Nakai defeated world bronze medalist Masahiro Takamatsu in the men’s 81-kg final while world champion Kaori Matsumoto prevailed over compatriot Nozomi Hirai in the women’s 57 kg to win the Grand Slam Tokyo title on Sunday.

Host Japan won in four out of five weight categories, surprisingly finishing empty-handed in the usually dominant women’s 63-kg class.

In the 81-kg final, neither man could gain any leverage throughout the bout but Nakai emerged the winner after judges penalized Takamatsu twice for passivity at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

“I wanted to win no matter what. I’m happy I won but I don’t know if I can win in the future so I’ll just keep training hard,” Nakai said.

Matsumoto, meanwhile, used an effective side submission hold for the victory over Hirai.

“This was the first time I faced her and she was really strong. I was thinking, ‘Please don’t escape!’ I have to practice more on my grappling techniques. My style of judo is foot techniques and being aggressive,” she said.

Matsumoto defeated the tall and lanky Lien Chen-ling of Taiwan with another ironclad submission technique in overtime to book her spot in the final against Hirai.

Riki Nakaya applied an armbar on Yuki Nishiyama in the all-Japanese 73-kg final for an ippon victory after pulling his opponent off-balance and onto the mat. Nishiyama is the younger brother of 90-kg world silver medalist Daiki Nishiyama, who is sitting out this meet with an injury.

At 90 kg, Masashi Nishiyama beat Dilshod Choriev of Uzbekistan on a disqualification for Choriev’s illegal armbar maneuver in the semis before defeating Tiago Camilo of Brazil in the final for the title.

Earlier, world No. 1 Takashi Ono was stunned in an ippon defeat in the men’s 90-kg quarterfinals while world champion Yoshie Ueno was the other major casualty as she lost in her second match of the day in the women’s 63-kg class.

Kodokan Cup winner Ikumi Tanimoto, the younger sister of now-retired two-time Olympic champion Ayumi Tanimoto, also tasted defeat, falling in the quarterfinals to France’s Gevrise Emane. Clarisse Agbegnenou beat Emane in an all-French final.

“I feel fantastic. I was just thinking of trying to win. Next year we have the world championships in Paris and I have to keep training toward the London Olympics,” said Agbegnenou.

Ono, who suffered his only defeat this season at the hands of Greece’s Ilias Iliadis in the third round of the world championships in Tokyo this September, was dumped to the mat with a foot sweep executed by Uzbekistan’s Khurshid Nabiev.

“This was all I could do today. I lost, so I’m not in good form. I can’t make any excuses,” Ono said. “I will just do my best to win next time,” he said.

Ueno lost to Slovenia’s Vlora Bedeti, ranked just 20th in the world, on points.

“Having to continue winning put too much pressure on me. I still haven’t come to grips with this defeat today,” Ueno said.

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