FUKUOKA – Shohei Ono, Olympic champion in the men’s 73-kg division, defeated 2017 world champion Soichi Hashimoto to win his third title at the national invitational weight class judo championships on Sunday.
The victory landed Ono a spot on Japan’s team to this year’s world championships, to be held in Tokyo from Aug. 25 to Sept. 1. It was Ono’s first championship at the invitational tourney in three years.
Two-time defending world champion Hifumi Abe lost the men’s 66-kg invitational final to Joshiro Maruyama, who defended his title in a match that lasted more than 13 minutes. Despite the defeat, Abe was still chosen to defend his world title this summer in Tokyo, where he’ll be joined by Maruyama.
Tsukasa Yoshida will also return to the worlds to defend her women’s 57-kg crown after winning her second invitational championship and her first in three years.
Ryuju Nagayama captured his second invitational title in the men’s 60 kg two years after collecting his maiden championship, and was named to the worlds’ team, where he’ll team up with two-time defending world champ Naohisa Takato.
In the men’s 81-kg class, Rio Olympic bronze medalist Takanori Nagase won his fifth invitational championship and his first in two years.
Seventeen-year-old Wakana Koga won her first women’s 48-kg championship, while Natsumi Tsunoda defeated 2017 world champion Ai Shishime in the women’s 52-kg final.
Uta Abe, the defending women’s 52-kg world champ, had already booked her spot at the worlds as had Chizuru Arai, in the women’s 70-kg class.
Japan’s team members in the two heavyweight divisions, the men’s over-100 kg and the women’s over-78 kg, have yet to be decided. Both spots will be fixed later this month.
Hashimoto, the men’s 73-kg runner-up, was named to the mixed team event at the worlds along with men’s 90-kg judoka Sanshiro Murao.
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