• Kyodo


Chizuru Arai captured the women’s 70-kg title at the Dusseldorf Grand Prix in Germany on Saturday.

The 23-year-old Arai defeated Frenchwoman Marie Eve Gahie by ippon in the final and was the only Japanese winner among the four men’s and women’s weight classes contested on the second of the meet.

Arai broke the deadlock with a waza-ari from an uchi-mata against Gahie. She added a second waza-ari and wrapped up her young French opponent with a mune-gatame hold to win gold.

“Overall I was able to compete in a relaxed manner. It was obvious that I was determined to win through my matches,” said Arai, a winner at the Paris Grand Slam earlier this month.

“My goal for this year is to win the gold medal at the (Aug. 23-Sept. 5) world championships (in Budapest). I want to improve step by step and get closer to the (2020) Tokyo Olympics.”

Saki Niizoe lost in the semifinals to Gahie but defeated Sanne van Dijke of the Netherlands in the repechage to win a bronze medal.

In the women’s 63-kg, 19-year-old Nami Nabekura also won a bronze medal.

After stunning Rio Olympic champion Tina Trstenjak of Slovenia in the quarterfinals, Nabekura lost to German Martyna Trajdos in the semis, but rebounded in the repechage to beat teammate Megumi Tsugane after two minutes of golden score.

The best the Japanese men could do was Seidai Sato’s second-round elimination in the 81-kg class.

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