PARIS – Reigning world champion Haruna Asami provided a welcome respite for Japanese judo with victory in the women’s 48-kg final on Saturday at the Paris Grand Slam, the first international competition since an abuse scandal rocked the country’s national sport.
Asami won through to the final before taking out Frenchwoman Laetitia Payet for a “yusei” points win, and Yuki Hashimoto, last year’s Tokyo Grand Slam winner, saw off Majlinda Kelmendi of Kosovo to make it a women’s double with victory in the 52-kg final.
In the men’s competition, Naohisa Takato won all five of his matches by ippon, beating South Korea’s Jang Jin Min in the 60-kg final.
Japanese judo’s reputation has been tarnished in the wake of a scandal that surfaced after claims of physical abuse of female wrestlers.
A complaint from 15 female wrestlers that alleged physical and verbal abuse within the Japan national team led to the unprecedented apology and the resignations of the national women’s coach, an assistant coach and the All Japan Judo Federation’s head of development.