CHELYABINSK, RUSSIA – Masashi Ebinuma won his third consecutive men’s 66-kg title at the world judo championships Tuesday.
Ebinuma’s uchimata throw gave him an ippon victory over Russia’s Mikhail Pulyaev in the final. The London Olympic bronze medalist became the fifth Japanese male judoka to win three straight world titles, and the first since current men’s head coach Kosei Inoue achieved the feat in 2003.
Worlds debutant Kengo Takaichi failed to medal in the division, finishing fifth.
“Listening to the national anthem on the podium really made me want to win a gold medal at the Olympics,” the 24-year-old Ebinuma said. “I’m going all in for the Olympics. I want to become even stronger than I am now.”
In the women’s 52 kg, Yuki Hashimoto, who took bronze a year ago, lost to Natalia Kuziutina of Russia by ippon in the quarterfinals and came up empty-handed in the repechage.