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Judoka Asami captures 48-kg national title by beating Kondo

Kyodo

Former world champion Haruna Asami defeated reigning world champion Ami Kondo in the woman’s 48-kg weight category at the National Invitational Weight Class Championships on Saturday.

The 26-year-old Asami beat the 19-year-old Kondo on points for her first title in two years and second overall in the tournament, which doubles as a qualifier for the World Judo Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan, in August.

At 57 kg, London Olympic gold medalist Kaori Matsumoto claimed her first title in four years and fourth overall. Nae Udaka was defeated in the semifinals.

Incheon Asian Games champion Misato Nakamura saw off Yuki Hashimoto in the 52-kg final to reach the top podium spot for the first time in three years — fifth overall.

On the men’s side, Kenta Nishigata upset world silver medalist Ryu Shichinohe in the semifinals in the over-100-kg class en route to clinching his first title. The 21-year-old Takanori Nagase won his second consecutive title at 81 kg.

Matthew Baker, 20, and Kaihan Takagi won their first career titles at 90 kg and 100 kg, respectively. Six weight divisions for this summer’s worlds, excluding the heaviest categories for both men and women, will be announced on Sunday.