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Ryuju Nagayama defends world leading position with gold
23 Nov 2018 14:15
Japanese lightweight Nagayama Ryuju claimed his fifth Grand Slam crown and the most important gold medal of his career in the U60kg category. World Championships bronze medallist Nagayama defeated European u23 Championships winner Yago Abuladze (RUS) in the final by a single score.
Russia’s surprise package, who was ranked number 165 in the world at the start of the day, looked at home on his Grand Slam debut as his unorthodox style carried him through to the final. A waza-ari from the Japanese after 22 seconds was the difference as Nagayama was the last man standing at -60kg to increase his lead at the top of the rankings.
"I have Takato (Naohisa), who is my senior, in my category and I still need a match against him to prove myself as the number one,” said Nagayama.
In the first semi-final Nagayama squeezed past Ekaterinburg Grand Slam bronze medallist Oshima Yuma (JPN) by a waza-ari score. In the second semi-final Abuladze defeated double world bronze medallist Kim Won Jin (KOR) by two scores without reply. The Russian made his rival pay for being overconfident as the spoiler was undone in the last four stage and moved down into a bronze medal contest.
The first bronze medal was won by Kim who catapulted Düsseldorf Grand Slam bronze medallist Eric Takabatake (BRA) through the air for ippon with a sode-tsurikomi-goshi after three minutes of golden score. KIM claimed his sixth Grand Slam medal to mark a successful return to action in his first event since the Rio 2016 Olympics where he finished seventh.
The second bronze medal went to Oshima who triumphed over Paris Grand Slam winner Shishime Toru (JPN). Oshima won his fifth Grand Slam medal after Shishime was penalised for going out of the area which was his third and final penalty. The scoreless contest was settled after two minutes of golden score and ensured that the world number 60 will be called up for international assignments in 2019.
World champion Takato Naohisa (JPN) was a casualty in the preliminaries as he was beaten by former world bronze medallist Kim Won Jin (KOR). Takato was riding a 35-fight winning-streak coming into his home Grand Slam but the challenge of the returning Korean proved too much as the former picked up this third shido in golden score in his opening contest.
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