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Ryuju Nagayama takes pole position U60kg as World Ranking Leader

23 Feb 2018 20:40

 by Mark Pickering - IJF    IJF Media Team / International Judo Federation

Nagayama Ryuju of Japan took the world number one ranking from his club and national colleague Takato Naohisa (JPN) who looked on from the stands at the ISS Dome. Former Junior World Championships winner Nagayama, 21, won his third Grand Slam title by defeating Abu Dhabi Grand Slam winner Robert Mshvidobadze (RUS) in the -60kg final.

Nagayama bested the world number five with an all-out attacking exhibition. The first and only score of the contest, a ura-nage for a waza-ari, ensured that Japan won the lightest men's titles at stake on day one. World champion Takato Naohisa (JPN), who won bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympics, watched on with interest from the stands. Takato is in Germany for the post-event training camp and will compete at the Prague European Open next week at -66kg to keep active and to help control his weight.

In the first semi-final World Judo Masters winner Nagayama bested Tbilisi Grand Prix winner Lukhumi Chkhvimiani (GEO) by a by ippon with a ko-uchi-gari. In the second semi-final African Championships winner Fraj Dhouibi (TUN) lost out to Mshvidobadze in golden score when the African judoka picked up his third shido during golden score.

The first bronze medal was won by Pan American Championships winner Eric Takabatake (BRA) who floored Dhouibi with a beautifully executed ko-uchi for ippon.

The second bronze medal went to world number 22 Chkhvimiani who had graced a Grand Slam podium once previously back in 2015 when he won bronze in Baku. Georgia’s Chkhvimiani had scouted the repeated tai-otoshi attempts from Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Ashley Mckenzie (GBR) to counter the effort in golden score with a match-winning waza-ari.

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  • Ryuju Nagayama (JPN), Robert Mshvidobadze (RUS) - Grand Slam Düsseldorf (2018, GER) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation
  • Ryuju Nagayama (JPN) - Grand Slam Düsseldorf (2018, GER) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation
  • Ryuju Nagayama (JPN) - Grand Slam Paris (2017, FRA) - © Christian Fidler

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