Shohei Ono earns respect with Olympic gold in style
Reigning world champion Shohei Ono claimed Japan’s first judo gold of Rio 2016, ending a run of five bronze medals in the sport over the first three days of the Games. Ono beat Azerbaijan’s Rustam Orujov by ippon in the men’s U73kg division to claim gold on his Olympic debut, adding it to his two world championships titles.
Ono said: “I’m really happy. I am not totally satisfied with my performance but I think I was able to convey the brilliance, beauty and strength of the sport that is judo to the people watching.”
Ono’s first opponent, Miguel Murillo of Costa Rica, received three penalties for passivity before the Japanese judoka placed him in a side yoko-shiho-gatame submission for ippon.
Ono then beat 2014 world bronze medalist Victor Scvortov of United Arab Emirates, deploying an inner thigh throw, saw off men’s 66-kg London Olympic champion Lasha Shavdatuashvili of Georgia with a minor hip throw to win by waza-ari before winning his semifinal against Belgium’s Dirk van Tichelt by ippon.
Ono became World Champion in 2015 in Astana and 2013 in Rio de Janeiro. The former World Jnuior World Champion won the Grand Prix in Dusseldorf in 2015 and 2016, it was his only international mark he set this year, but everyone saw him at the Training Camp in Casteldefells in July where he well in shape. He won four out his five fight by ippon, only against Lasha Shavdatuashvili he had to fight the full five minutes in the quarter final, but controlled the match the whole time with a wazari lead. Ono won the first gold medal for the Japanese team, the other five participants all won bronze, while in London Japan had three finallists after three days. That performance was called the big shame on Japan. Perhaps Ono set the tone with this gold medal as the men’s team have Nagase, Baker, Haga and Harasawa yet to come.