Home » Judo news
The latest Judo News offered by JudoInside.com
No end in sight to Japan’s male heavyweight drought
2 Oct 2018 13:00
Japan last held the men’s heavyweight world crown in 2013. Their 15-year wait for a champion is their one weakness at the elite level. Muneta Yasuyuki was the last man to hold the title and did so at home in Osaka in 2003. Japan has won all 13 other titles since then and have had a stranglehold of many categories such as U73kg.
The heavyweight category has a special status in Japan with many of their most celebrated champions coming from this category such as IJF Hall of Famers Yamashita Yasuhiro and Saito Hitoshi.
The All Japan Openweight Championships is the pride and joy of the Japanese competition scene and its iconic one mat setup in the Nippon Budokan.
All the winners of this event in recent years have been awarded with the opportunity to compete at the highest level on the IJF World Judo Tour but all have fallen at the World Championships and Olympics.
Baku 2018 was supposed to be different. With Teddy Riner absent from the heavyweight competition in Azerbaijan the onus was on Japan’s two heavyweight picks to prove their worth and go out and rule the category.
Tokyo Grand Slam winner Ogawa Yusei was eliminated in round three while Olympic silver medallist Harasawa Hisayoshi was shocked by Ulziibayar Duurenbayar (MGL) in the quarter-finals. All Japan Openweight Championships gold medallist Harasawa came back to win bronze but did little to stake his claim for Tokyo 2020.
Harasawa won world bronze
Japan has an alternative. It's a race against time but they have a young man with judo in his genes and who is blessed with the size, frame and agility that has seen him earmarked by high-ranking officials in Japan as their great heavyweight hope.
Kokushikan University member Saito Tatsuru, 16, the son of the late Saito Hitoshi, double Olympic gold medallist and world champion, has been picked for the Junior World Championships later this month in the Bahamas.
Tatsuru stands at 6ft 2in and weighs 155kg and has years of growth ahead of him. The golden rookie will be making his IJF debut after an introduction to the international stage in April when he won a Junior European Cup in St. Petersburg, Russia, with four ippons from four contests.
The teenager will fight at the Kodokan Cup, a qualification event for the Osaka Grand Slam 2018, in early November and a strong performance there would secure a berth for the fifth and final Grand Slam of the season.
Related judoka and events
Related Judo Photos
Related Judo Videos
Related Judo News
The 2000 Asian Judo Championships acted as the only source of qualification to the Olympic Games for Asian fighters not already qualified through last year's World Championships. Naturally some of the top Japanese, Korean and Chinese fighters were rested as they had finished in the top eight at the Worlds. Four Japanese fighters, however, had failed to qualify last year and a couple of Korean former World Champions did not even compete in Birmingham so there was plenty of talent on display. Read more
On Sunday the heavyweights will enter the Maruzen Intec Arena for the Grand Slam of Osaka. The current World Champion will be in the field among many true Japanese heavyweights. Who will survive the shift? JudoCrazy’s Oon Yeoh analysis the various heavyweight pools for us. Read more
The World Mixed team title was captured by the team of Japan and they prolonged last year’s title from Budapest here in Baku. Witnessed by Russia Federation President Vladimir Putin Russia and a united team of North and South Korea took bronze. France lost the final to Japan by 4-1. Read more
Georgia get a second chance on a gold medal as in the heavyweight tournaments most of the favourites are ruled out for the title while Guram Tushishvili had to do everything to reach the semi final, but he achieved where others failed. Read more
Will Georgia then take a gold medal at the last day of the World Championships of the individual tournament? At least the Georgians have Guram Tushishvili as number one seed. But he is not the favourite, but he does have the trendy size and shape of the new generation heavyweights. Slim, fit, brave and hungry for the medals. Read more
Aigerim Toregozhina (KAZ)