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Uta Abe close to nomination for the Olympic Games

18 Nov 2019 13:50

 Mark Pickering - IJF    JudoHeroes

The final Grand Slam of the season sees a return to the sport’s homeland and Osaka. Abe Uta, Sone and Maruyama are on the verge of Tokyo 2020 selection. World champions Abe Uta (-52kg), Sone Akira (+78kg) and Maruyama Joshiro (-66kg) will seal selection for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics if they win gold at the Osaka Grand Slam.

Ono Shohei was in the same position but the Tenri star pulled out last week with an index finger injury and a decision on the -73kg category will be made next year after the Grand Slams in France and Germany.

The AJJF High Performance Committee will meet after the Grand Slam and if one of their reigning world champions claims gold in Osaka then they will need to secure two-thirds of the vote to be selected for the Games.

Abe and Sone, both 19, are closing in on selection for their first Olympics and Tokyo’s first since 1964. Maruyama, 26, made a low-key debut on the IJF tour in 2013 when he finished seventh at the Tokyo Grand Slam but has matured into a world beater on the circuit and is poised to make his Olympic bow in 2020.

Sone has never won a Grand Slam in her five attempts and will be tipped to put that right on Sunday in the most important day of her career so far.

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Related Judo Photos

  • Joshiro Maruyama (JPN) - Grand Slam Osaka (2019, JPN) - © JudoHeroes
  • Akira Sone (JPN) - Grand Slam Osaka (2019, JPN) - © JudoHeroes
  • Uta Abe (JPN) - World Championships Tokyo (2019, JPN) - © IJF Gabriela Sabau, International Judo Federation

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