Yasuhiro Yamashita, the men’s open-weight category gold medalist at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, was appointed as the new president of the All Japan Judo Federation on Friday.
Yamashita replaces 71-year-old Shoji Muneoka following voting from new board members selected the same day. The 60-year-old Yamashita is now responsible for leading the federation in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“We’ll aim for judo that puts emphasis on manner and one with dignity,” said Yamashita, a nine-time national champion. “I’ll dedicate all my strength to create a world of judo that children yearn for … one that they can proudly say they do judo.”
At the Tokyo Olympics, Yamashita aims to double the three gold medals Japan won at the Rio Games last summer.
“The whole judo community will make thorough efforts to hone the potential the youngsters have. … I’m excited thinking about what sorts of judoka will come through, and how they’d perform against overseas opponents,” he said. “I’m sure they will meet the expectations of the public.”
Muneoka was the first outsider to assume the role and worked to rebuild the sport’s reputation since taking the office in August 2013 after he replaced Haruki Uemura.
Uemura resigned after four years and four months as part of the fallout from a physical abuse scandal on the women’s team and misuse of funds.