DUSSELDORF, GERMANY – Judoka Hisayoshi Harasawa clinched his first international crown in three years on Sunday when he won the men’s over 100-kg title on the final day of the Dusseldorf Grand Slam.
Japan topped the medal tally by winning nine of 14 gold medals available at the three-day tournament at the ISS Dome, with Rio Olympic silver medalist Harasawa capping the week with an ippon triumph over Russia’s Inal Tasoev in the heavyweight final.
“I couldn’t help but execute (the uchimata inner thigh throw),” said Harasawa, who won four bouts to reach the final.
“I lost in the final in Paris (Grand Slam on Feb. 10) so I wanted to win this meet no matter what. I’m glad,” he said.
The last time he won an international competition was in February 2016 at the Paris Grand Slam.
In the same weight class, Japan’s Yusei Ogawa lost to No. 1 seed Duurenbayar Ulziibayar of Mongolia in the bronze medal match and placed fifth.
In the men’s 90-kg, Sanshiro Murao was defeated by his opponent from Azerbaijan, Mammadali Mehdiyev, in the final. But the Japanese 18-year-old made a strong impression as a 2020 contender, winning five straight bouts by ippon before facing Mehdiyev.
Rio Olympic 90-kg champion Mashu Baker is sitting out the event due to a right hamstring injury.
In the men’s 100-kg, Japan’s new hope Kentaro Iida beat world champion Cho Gu-ham of South Korea for his second Grand Slam title, knocking out top-ranked Georgian Varlam Liparteliani on his way to the final.
In the women’s over 78-kg final, Sara Asahina took three shido penalties in her loss to two-time world champion Idalys Ortiz, the Cuban opponent she beat last year in the world championship final.
Reigning world champion Shori Hamada was eliminated in the first round of the women’s 78-kg division by Russia’s Antonina Shmeleva.
The Dusseldorf Grand Slam doubles as a qualifier for the world championships, which will be held in Tokyo between Aug. 25 and Sept. 1.
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