Nineteen-year-old Sara Asahina won her third straight Kodokan Cup on Saturday after claiming the women’s over-78-kg class at Chiba Port Arena.
Shori Hamada prevailed in all her four 78-kg bouts by ippon to clinch her first title, and national team coach Mitsutoshi Nanjo looked forward to the pair’s progress with next summer’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics in sight.
“Asahina won her third straight but she’s without a title in a big international tournament. She still hasn’t reached her full potential and I’d like her to go even higher,” said Nanjo. “As for Hamada, she has matured since her student days and I’m seeing some growth.”
Yoko Ono took the 70-kg top spot for the second time after her first title three years ago.
Among men’s competitors, 18-year-old Hifumi Abe fell short in his bid for second straight title in the 66-kg class only managing third, with Sho Tateyama crowned the champion for the first time.
Hirofumi Yamamoto back-to-back titles in the 60-kg category for his third overall, Soichi Hashimoto triumphed at 73 kg and Yasuhiro Ebi won his first title in the 81-kg division.
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