Judo-Judoka Takato wins Japan's first Tokyo 2020 gold

Judo-Judoka Takato wins Japan's first Tokyo 2020 gold

7/24/2021 5:15:00 PM

Judo-Judoka Takato wins Japan's first Tokyo 2020 gold

Naohisa Takato delivered the first gold medal of the Tokyo Games for a host nation desperate for Olympic glory by winning the men's 60 kg judo, a sport fittingly born in Japan 140 years ago.

"This is heavy. It makes me feel like dreaming," Takato, who was later all smiles, told reporters when asked about the gold medal that was put around his neck.The triple world champion judoka, who had disappointed the nation with a bronze medal at the 2016 Games, had a nail-biting ride to the top of the podium with three victories in the finals coming in the sudden death Golden Score period.

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He had a close shave in his quarter-final in the 60kg class, winning during Golden Score overtime on a foul by his Georgian opponent Lukhumi Chkhvimiani.In the elimination round of 16, Takato delivered an ippon against Belgian Jorre Verstaeten."It was frustrating in Rio," Takato said, recalling the previous Games where he ended up with bronze. "It was a long road to get here."

In between matches at the eight-sided Nippon Budokan, which was built for the Olympics Japan hosted in 1964, sanitation workers poured disinfectant spray over yellow tatami mats to minimise the risk of coronavirus infection.Blaring pop, rock and dance music was used to generate an atmosphere before the bouts. headtopics.com

JAPAN'S STRENGTHTakato's victory underscored Japan's strength at a sport that originated in the country. Bronze medals went to Yeldos Smetov of Kazakhstan and Luka Mkheidze of France.Japanese female judoka Funa Tonaki reached the final in her 48kg class but lost to Kosovo's Distria Krasniqi, just one bout away from achieving double gold on the same day with Takato.

Tonaki, a one-time world champion making her Olympic debut, won a semi-final with an ippon - judo's equivalent of a knockout - by pinning Ukraine's Daria Bilodid in Golden Score overtime.It was a bittersweet day for the host nation, which has endured a lead up to the Games like no other.

Read more: Reuters Top News »

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This headline really confuse a lot of ppl, I guess. Was it necessary to put '-Judoka' in the headline that's limited number of words and represent the contents of the story ? Daming career, johnarielrojas.