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Nagase falls short in title defense at worlds

Kyodo

Takanori Nagase failed to defend the men’s 81-kg title at the World Judo Championships on Thursday, stopping Japan’s medal run by making a fourth-round exit against Uzbekistan’s Davlat Bobonov.

Nagase, who won a bronze medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics last year, lost on three shido penalties during the extra time, after injuring his right knee when trying to take down his opponent with an ouchigari inner leg sweep 40 seconds into the match.

Germany’s Alexander Wieczerzak, ranked 124th in the world, won the gold medal and Matteo Marconcini of Italy took silver, while Rio Olympic champion Khasan Khalmurzaev of Russia and Iran’s Saeid Mollaei got the bronze.

“When I performed an ouchigari, my knee got caught in my opponent’s move and made a strange noise,” Nagase said, adding that he may have aggravated his ligament injury sustained during practice a month ago.

“I’ve never injured my knee this badly before. I want to take time to heal before I move on to the next step,” the 23-year-old added. “I want to show a Takanori Nagase who has overcome injury and become stronger.”

On the first three days of the world meet in the Hungarian capital, Japan had swept the three men’s divisions and all of its athletes had ended up with a medal, including two from the women’s weight classes. Japan has five golds, two silvers and a bronze.

No Japanese competed in the women’s 63-kg competition, also held Thursday, which was won by 2014 world champion and Rio silver medalist Clarisse Agbegnenou of France. The world No. 3 defeated top-ranked defending champion and Olympic gold medalist Tina Trstenjak of Slovenia in the final.