BAKU – Shori Hamada marked her world championships debut, and her 28th birthday, with an added-time victory in the women’s 78-kg weight class on Tuesday.
The final between the Tokyo Grand Slam winner and world No. 1 Guusje Steenhuis of the Netherlands at the National Gymnastics Arena was settled on three shido penalties that left Steenhuis with a silver after 9 minutes, 23 seconds.
“What a great birthday,” said Hamada, who also claimed the 80-kg gold in sambo, a Russian martial art and combat sport, at the Universiade in 2013.
“It was a tight final, but I pulled off a convincing win. I worked hard on my standing techniques, so I’m glad that paid off.
“I was aiming for world titles in two sports (judo and sambo) so I’m happy,” she added.
Hamada reached the final after four straight ippon victories in her earlier matches, including beating 2009 world champion Marhinde Verkerk with an ouchi-gari major inner reaping throw in the semifinals.
In the men’s 100-kg, Japan’s Aaron Wolf, the defending world champion, lost to Russia’s Niyaz Ilyasov in the quarterfinal and was defeated by Mongolia’s Otgonbaatar Lkhagvasuren in the bronze-medal match. Wolf finished in fifth place.
It was the first time Japan missed out on a podium spot in the eight-day competition. South Korea’s Cho Gu-ham earned the gold.
“I wasn’t able to persevere like I’m able to. I didn’t have the stamina needed to win. It’s what I learn from this defeat that’s important,” Wolf said.
Japan has six golds, five silvers and three bronzes so far after 12 men’s and women’s weight categories.
The competition, featuring 755 judoka from 124 countries, concludes Thursday with the mixed teams events.
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