PARIS – Japanese judoka Yoko Ono defeated France’s Margaux Pinot on Sunday and earned her country’s fifth gold medal on the final day of the prestigious Paris Grand Slam.
Ono and Pinot took their women’s 70-kilogram final into golden score, but the home favorite conceded after being penalized for a third time for leaving the area. The 29-year old Ono earned her third Grand Slam title.
“I’m relieved since I know the difference between gold and silver is very big,” Ono said. “I was extremely fixated on winning and I picked up the gold medal.”
Japan’s Saki Niizoe lost to Pinot by ippon in the 70-kg semifinals, but triumphed over France’s Marie-Eve Gahie in the bronze-medal match with an uchi-mata inner-thigh throw for ippon.
Mami Umeki and Akira Sone also took home bronzes after wins in their respective third-place matches in the women’s 78 and over-78 divisions.
On the men’s side, Olympic silver medalist Hisayoshi Harasawa lost to South Korea’s Kim Sung Min in the over-100 final by ippon with an osoto-gari.
“I couldn’t find my form in the final, and I made a mistake by rushing my technique,” Harasawa said. “I was hoping for a good result in a competition I’ve won twice (in 2015 and 2016), but it didn’t turn out well.”
In the same division, 2018 Paris champion Kokoro Kageura used an ashi-waza to beat Dutchman Henk Grol for bronze.
Former world champion Aaron Wolf met Georgia’s Olympic silver medalist Varlam Liparteliani in the 100-kg final, but was caught by an uchi-mata for a waza-ari score and settled for silver.
In the men’s 90-kg weight class, Kenta Nagasawa defeated compatriot Shoichiro Mukai in the bronze-medal fight after losing to 90-kg winner Gwak Dong Han of South Korea in the semifinals.
Japan ended the first Grand Slam of the year in the lead with five golds, three silvers and seven bronzes. The two-day event is one of the qualifiers for the Aug. 25-Sept. 1 world championships in Tokyo.