• Kyodo


Reigning 66-kg world champion Hifumi Abe has agreed to a management contract under a new company established by three-time Olympic judo champion Tadahiro Nomura, the company announced Thursday.

Although it is unusual for Japanese judoka to be managed while still attending college, the 20-year-old Abe will train under Nomura with the goal of winning his own Olympic gold at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

“I want to work even harder, together with someone who knows all about the Olympics, to get the best results at the Tokyo Games,” Abe said in a statement from the company.

The six-time Grand Slam winner, known for his impressive throwing technique, has been a longtime admirer of Nomura and has said his goal is to surpass the 43-year-old by winning four straight Olympics.

“Abe is a judoka who is just 20 years old and has unlimited possibilities — I want to make the best use of my experience and give him my full support,” Nomura said.

Nomura, who is the only judoka in the world to have won three straight Olympic gold medals, retired in 2015 because of problems with his surgically repaired knees and right shoulder.

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