TOKYO (REUTERS) – Japan’s Takanori Nagase won the judo gold medal in the men’s -81kg at the Tokyo Olympics by beating Saeid Mollaei of Mongolia in the final, extending the gold rush by Japanese judokas.
Rio bronze medallist Nagase’s victory marked a fifth judo gold medal for hosts Japan at the Games, edging them closer to their previous Olympic record of eight titles in 2004 in Athens.
In a gruelling final that lasted over 5-1/2 minutes, the 27-year-old Nagase, an uchimata inner thigh throw specialist, delivered an ashi-guruma foot wheel to throw Mollaei down on the tatami mats to earn a waza-ari sudden death overtime victory.
Shamil Borchashvili of Austria and Matthias Casse of Belgium were awarded bronze, their first Olympic medals.
In the women’s -63kg category, Rio silver medallist Clarisse Agbegnenou of France got her hands on the top prize by defeating Tina Trstenjak in the final.
That came as revenge after the Rio Games in which the Frenchwoman was beaten by the Slovenian judoka.
Maria Centracchio of Italy and Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard of Canada were awarded bronze medals. Both earned their first Olympic medals.
Earlier on Tuesday, the 28-year-old Agbegnenou, five times a world champion, took just 20 seconds to secure an ippon victory by taniotoshi valley drop against Sandrine Billiet of Cape Verde in the elimination round of 16.
Japan’s Miku Tashiro suffered a crashing ippon knockout defeat by Agata Ozdoba-Blach of Poland in the round of 16. The Polish judoka was subsequently beaten by Centracchio in the quarter-finals.
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