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Hisayoshi Harasawa beats defending champion Takeshi Ojitani for second national judo title


Judoka Hisayoshi Harasawa earned his second career national championship on Sunday, winning his final against two-time defending champion Takeshi Ojitani in extra time.

Harasawa defeated Ojitani on penalties in the bout that lasted for 9 minutes, 16 seconds at Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan for his first title in the open-weight tournament since 2015.

“I was exhausted, but the fact that I was able to fight to this point made me cry a bit,” said Harasawa, the men’s over-100-kg silver medalist at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The 25-year-old, who received a berth in judo’s heaviest weight class at September’s world championships, emphasized that competing at the 2020 Tokyo Games has been his biggest motivation.

“I just kept fighting with the desire that I want to compete at the (2020) Tokyo Olympics,” he said. “From this point, I want to give everything I have to judo so I can move forward ahead of the Olympics.”

Yusei Ogawa and Hirotaka Kato, the 2012 champion, finished third.

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