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Home youngster Tatsukawa wins as Ono pulls out and Hashimoto takes bronze
2 Dec 2017 12:20
Tatsukawa Arata was an unexpected winner of the U73kg category as he overcame a fellow surprise finalist in Hohhot Grand Prix silver medallist Arthur Margelidon (CAN). Japan was always expected to be triumphant in this category having won the world title at this wait every year since 2010 but the source of the gold medal was one of the biggest shocks of the 2017 season.
Talk of a possible dream clash between world champion Hashimoto Soichi (JPN) and returning Olympic champion Ono Shohei (JPN) attracted almost all of the attention in the build-up to the event but proved to be premature.
Asian Championships bronze medallist Tatsukawa was engaged in Grand Slam final action by Margelidon who broke new territory with a career-making performance in the home of judo. There was nothing to separate the finalists going into golden score as both men were cautious and wary of the form of each other from the preliminaries. Margelidon was penalised for a second time in golden score for ducking underneath the gripping attempts of the Japanese judoka who took the spoils and his first gold medal on the IJF World Judo Tour.
In the first semi-final world champion Hashimoto Soichi (JPN) was stunned by Tatsukawa in golden score when the former was penalised with a third shido for passivity. In the second semi-final Margelidon pipped Nogami Rentaro (JPN) by a waza-ari to already guarantee the best result of his career.
The first bronze medal was won by 20-year-old Ahn Joonsung (KOR) who opened his IJF World Judo Tour medal account when Nogami picked up a third shido in golden score for passivity.
The second and last male bronze medal contest was won by Hashimoto who threw world bronze medallist Ganbaatar Odbayar (MGL) with a seoi-otoshi on the edge of the area for ippon after two minutes of golden score.
Olympic champion Ono Shohei (JPN) was forced to withdraw from the competition due to a knee injury. In his first competition since Rio 2016, ONO defeated Bektur Rysmambetov (KGZ) on shidos in golden score in his only contest but afterwards pulled out and was a forlorn figure at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.
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