A catch-up on Japan-focused sports stories from the past few days:
- Hinako Shibuno is just hanging on to her lead at the U.S. Women’s Open in Houston. The 2019 British Open champion’s advantage has shrunk to one shot, but she is in first heading into the final round, which was supposed to be Sunday but has been delayed due to bad weather.
- A penalty in the final seconds of extra time sent South Korea’s Ulsan Hyundai FC into the Asian Champions League final at Vissel Kobe’s expense on Sunday at Qatar’s Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium. “We played as hard as we could,” said Hotaru Yamaguchi, who scored for Vissel in the first half. “Now our mission is to get better and we’ll go home with our heads held high.”
- In a rematch of Japan’s most infamous American football game, Kwansei Gakuin University defeated Nihon University 42-24 in Sunday’s Koshien Bowl. Kwansei quarterback Kosei Okuno, hospitalized after an unsportsmanlike tackle in a 2018 exhibition game against Nihon University that sparked a national scandal, led his school to victory for the third straight year.
- Yokozuna Kakuryu, winner of six Emperor’s Cups, has given up his Mongolian nationality and acquired Japanese citizenship, meaning he will now be able to run his own stable of wrestlers after retirement. He is the fourth foreign-born yokozuna to obtain Japanese citizenship. But can you name the other three?
- Hifumi Abe booked his place at the Tokyo Olympics with a yusei win in a grueling 24-minute bout against reigning world champ Joshiro Maruyama on Sunday in the men’s 66-kg division playoff. Maruyama and Abe were originally set for a winner-take-all bout at the All-Japan Weight Class Championships in April, but the tournament was postponed due to the pandemic.