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Japan earns team sweeps on final day at worlds

Kyodo

Japan concluded the World Judo Championships in style on Sunday, winning both the men’s and women’s team competitions at the same meet for the first time.

The Japanese women, led by 52-kg chamnpion Misato Nakamura, prevailed for the first time in two years after strolling past Brazil and China in the first round, Mongolia in the semifinals and Poland in the final — all by 5-0.

“I just wanted to win and hand it over to the rest of the team,” Nakamura said. “We won this gold medal together and it means more to me than the one I won on my own.”

The men were made to work in defending their title, however, as they defeated Kazakhstan 4-1 in the first round, overcame Germany 3-2 in the semis before downing South Korea 3-2 in the final.

“I’ve always liked the team event since I was a kid. It still fires me up,” said Takeshi Ojitani in the over-100 kg division, called up specifically for the team competition and edged Kim Sung-min on points in the final bout.

Japan won six individual gold medals in the Kazakhstani capital, three each from the men and women, along with four silvers and five bronze.