• Kyodo


Three-time defending Olympic champion Saori Yoshida secured a shot at her fourth straight gold medal on Wednesday in the All-Japan championships.

Yoshida won the women’s 55-kg division to capture her 13th consecutive national title, but earned a spot in next year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics before even reaching the final. The Japan Wrestling Federation grants Olympic berths to world championship medalists from September who compete at the nationals this week at Yoyogi National Gymnasium.

Yoshida won her 13th consecutive world title in the 53 kg at the world championships in September, but has since moved up a weight class after being diagnosed with asthma in October. On top of that, she has been suffering from pain in her left shoulder that has curtailed her practice.

“Because I can’t stand losing, my inclination was to defend,” the 33-year-old Yoshida said.

“The frequency of my attacks was a little less than it was a long time ago, but I’ve gotten where I am by attacking. Until I’m ready to call it quits I want to polish up on it (attacking).”

Eri Tosaka, the three-time defending world champion at 48 kg, also moved up in weight. She won her fourth straight national title by capturing the 53-kg category and will join Yoshida in Rio.

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