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Japan Sweeps Athlete of the Year and Ippon Trophy Titles in Birmingham
10 Oct 1999 18:10
On the final day of the 1999 World Judo Championships at the National Indoor Arena, the International Judo Federation announced the winners of the IJF Athlete of the Year and the Ippon Trophy. Japan added to its amazing dominance of the World Judo Championships by sweeping each of the four awards. The IJF Male Athlete of the Year for 1999 was Shinohara, Shinichi of Japan. Shinohara capped a fine year at the World Judo Championships, establishing himself as one of the greatest judokas by taking two gold medals, one in the +100 kg. category and one in the Open category.. The last person to accomplish this feat was Douillet, David of France.
The IJF Female Athlete of the Year for 1999 was Tamura, Ryoko of Japan. Tamura once again proved her greatness and added to her legend with her fourth consecutive World Championships title. Her drive and focus were unmatched as she proved to be simply dominating in the -48 kg. category. She served strong notice that she will be prepared for the Olympic Gold that has eluded her brilliant career next year in Sydney.
The Ippon Trophy sponsored by Mizuno was awarded to the Male and Female Judoka with the most Ippons. In case of a tie, it was then awarded to the competitor with the lowest average fight time.
The winner of the Male Ippon Trophy Award was once again Shinohara, Shinichi of Japan. With his Ippon victory in the finals of the Open Category, Shinohara narrowly took the title away from the home crowd favorite, Randall, Graeme who earlier in the week had captivated the crowd with a stirring and emotional victory in the -81 kg. category. In all, Shinohara took home four major awards, setting a new standard of greatness.
The winner of the Female Ippon Trophy was Maeda, Keiko of Japan. Maeda took the gold medal in the -63 kg. category for women with a stunning and dominating performance over her field. She won each of her five matches by Ippon and even more impressive was her average fight time of just under 17 seconds per Ippon.
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