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Kosei Inoue releaved with bounce-back feat of 7 medals
23 Aug 2016 17:05
The Land of the Rising Sun achieved a bounce-back feat: winning a medal in all seven weight classes, including two gold medals in the men’s category. Men’s judo coach Kosei Inoue could not help but shed tears in front of everyone after the last final. Inoue’s tears exemplified just how heavy a burden the 2000 Sydney gold medalist had to shoulder in his mission to reconstruct the men’s team after it suffered the humiliation of failing to win even one gold medal at the 2012 London Games.
The medal feat this time was a first for Japan since the current seven-division format was introduced at the 1988 Seoul Games. “I’m proud of the seven guys who have etched their names into the grand history.” Said Kosei Inoue.
Japan had never won a gold medal in the 90-kilogram category but it was 21-year-old Tokai University student Mashu Baker who broke through the dark clouds. Inoue praised the new hero, saying, “He blazed a new path in judo.”
Inoue frequently held face-to-face talks with athletes, making sure they were satisfied he had received their messages. The coach also established a group on the free communication app “Line” with the heavier judoka such as Haga and Harasawa under the title “Road to revival of the 100-kilogram and over 100 kilogram divisions.”
Inoue understands expectations will be higher four years from now, when judo’s mother country hosts the Olympics. “Even tougher competition awaits us at Tokyo,” Inoue said.
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