QINGDAO, CHINA – Hisayoshi Harasawa was crowned men’s heavyweight champion at the World Judo Masters on Saturday as Japan secured the top spot in the medal table.
Olympic silver medalist Harasawa, 28, received the gold medal after Olympic and world champion Lukas Krpalek of the Czech Republic pulled out of the final with a sore back.
Harasawa advanced to the gold medal match with an ippon victory over Russia’s Inal Tasoev in the semifinals of the over-100-kg division.
“It was a shame to win the final by forfeit, but the overall result was a boost to my confidence,” said Harasawa, who is in pole position to represent Japan at next year’s Tokyo Games.
“Although I didn’t move so well in my first bout, I was able to stick with it and put myself in a strong position.”
Former world champion Aaron Wolf missed out on another gold for Japan after losing by ippon to Dutchman Michael Korrel in the men’s 100-kg final.
Japan finished the World Judo Masters, which serve as an Olympic team selection event, with five gold medals, two silver and five bronze.
The Netherlands came in second with three gold, one bronze and one silver ahead of France, which earned a gold, three silver and three bronze.