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Hifumi Abe and sister Uta top podium at Grand Slam Tokyo

Kyodo

Hifumi Abe defended his men’s 66-kg division title at Grand Slam Tokyo on Saturday while his sister Uta earned her first career Grand Slam gold medal.

Japan won gold in all seven divisions held on the first day of the two-day meet at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

The reigning world champion Abe won all his matches by ippon, and claimed his fifth Grand Slam gold when he defeated compatriot Joshiro Maruyama with an ouchigari inner leg sweep.

“Some of the bouts were really tough, so being able to win helps my career,” said Abe, adding that seeing his sister win a bout by ippon motivated him before his final.

“I feel like we’re getting stronger by motivating each other,” said Abe, who booked a spot in next year’s world championships. “We were able to show our gratitude (to people around us) by winning together.”

In the women’s 52 kg, Uta, who finished runner-up at last year’s meet, beat world champion Ai Shishime in the quarterfinals. She went on to defeat Rina Tatsukawa in the final.

“I really wanted to win. I’ll give myself a 100,” said Uta. “My goal for now is to earn a berth in the world championships. I can take a step toward the Tokyo Olympics if I can win at the worlds.”

Tsukasa Yoshida claimed her third straight Grand Slam Tokyo title in the women’s 57 kg. Anzu Yamamoto was runner-up, and Momo Tamaoki and Nae Udaka were third.

Naohisa Takato and Ami Kondo won their first gold in the tournament in two years, after winning the men’s 60-kg and women’s 48-kg final, respectively. Miku Tashiro claimed the women’s 63-kg title by taking down Nami Nabekura.

In the men’s 73 kg, Arata Tatsukawa beat Canadian Arthur Margelidon in the final for his first Grand Slam victory. Rio de Janeiro Olympic gold medalist Shohei Ono pulled out of the competition citing an injury without revealing the specifics.