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Takato, Abe, Hashimoto capture gold at Grand Slam Paris

Kyodo

Rio Games bronze medalist Naohisa Takato won the men’s 60-kg category at the Grand Slam Paris on Saturday, while fellow Japanese Hifumi Abe and Soichi Hashimoto also claimed the 66- and 73-kg categories, respectively.

It was a strong showing by the Japanese men. Takato won all five of his bouts by ippon including his final against Sharafuddin Lutfillaev of Uzbekistan, and 19-year-old Abe did the same apart from the final against Anzaur Ardanov of Russia.

“The most pleasing thing is that I won them all by ippon using small inner reap, bit outer reap and back throw,” Takato said. “I want to throw more, showing this is the new Takato’s way to fight.”

Abe said, “I could do judo my way, which is to go for ippon and the performances were good too. I could make my case to the world. (But) I won’t be content with this result and have to build toward the Tokyo Games.”

Hashimoto overcame An Chang-rim of South Korea for the first time in his final.

“Beating a powerhouse boosts my confidence. It was the fourth time I’ve met him and I thought I’d never beat him if I didn’t today,” Hashimoto said. “It was the happiest bout so far (in my career).”

In the women’s events, Natsumi Tsunoda won the silver medal in the 52-kg after she was defeated by Rio gold medalist Majlinda Kelmendi of Kosovo.

Ami Kondo and Tsukasa Yoshida were third in the 48- and 57-divisions, respectively, while there was no medal for Japanese in the 63-kg.

The tournament is adopting new rules that have shortened match time from five minutes to four and scrapped yuko points as well as ippon through two wazaari.