JudoInside – News – Kenya Kohara defeats Olympic CHampion Nagase

At the Grand Slam of Tokyo, there is no doubt that the absence of some big names in the -81s, has a big impact on the quality of the field but it made this category even more surprising throughout the first day. Enough ingredients of a beautiful and great competition with Olympic champion Takanori Nagase as favourite.

Nagase indeed reached the final. Always discrete but very consistent, we tend to forget him but eventually he was still present at the right moment and in the right place. After the Tokyo Olympics, Nagase won a bronze medal in Ulaanbaatar for the launch of the Olympic qualification period and a bronze medal again at the last world championships in Tashkent. He was not fully ready yet but today he was. Kenya Kohara was his opponent in the final U81kg.

Halfway through the final, each athlete had one shido and were quickly penalised with a second shido as they neutralised themselves. Golden score was announced. A penalty would make the difference, even if all spectators were expecting a positive score. To the delight of the public, it was eventually Kenya Kohara who scored with an opportunist sumi-gaeshi to counter the kata-guruma of his famous opponent. Nagase was promised gold again in Tokyo, but today the golden boy was Kenya Kohara.

Two more Japanese qualified for the bronze medal contests, Takeshi Sasaki, facing Alpha Oumar Djalo (FRA) and Sotaro Fujiwara up against François Gauthier Drapeau (CAN). The first bronze medal contest went to Sotaro Fujiwara, who didn't give a single chance to his opponent. The second bronze medal was won by Alpha Oumar Djalo, who definitely engraved this performance on a milestone of his young career. To follow the footsteps of Teddy Riner, ten times world champion and two times Olympic champion, France is looking for new leaders in the male categories. Djalo might become one of those.

In this category it was another top seed who fell in the first round. Guilherme Schimidt (BRA), who sparkled in Antalya and Hungary this year, failed to reproduce his opportunistic and effective judo here in Tokyo, beaten from the outset by Somon Makhmadbekov (TJK), who himself lost to Kenya Kohara (JPN), a future finalist.

This article was originally published on www.judoinside.com

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