Japan enjoyed the perfect end to the 2015 World Judo Championships as they claimed gold in both the men’s and women’s team competitions here today.
After topping the medals table for the individual events, which drew to a close yesterday, the Japanese teams were the ones to beat.
Hosts Kazakhstan were among those teams unable to trouble them in the men’s competition, falling to a comprehensive 4-1 defeat in the quarter-final.
Japan overcame an early setback in their semi-final against Germany as Sebastian Seidl was awarded a waza-ari in the men's under 66 kilograms contest but the lead proved to be short-lived as new men’s under 73 kg world champion Shohei Ono defeated Igor Wandtke.
Goki Maruyama and Yuya Yoshida then completed the turnaround, earning wins by a yuko and waza-ari in their respective contests, setting up a gold medal match with South Korea, who had beaten Mongolia 4-1 in their semi-final.
The final proved to be in the balance until the very last bout with Japan taking the lead on two occasions following victories for Baul An and Taknori Nagase in the under 66kg and under 81kg divisions , before they were pegged back by Changrim An and newly crowned men's under 90kg world champion Dong Han Gwak.
In the end it would come down to the over 90kg contest between Japan’s Takeshi Ojitani and South Korea’s Kim Sung-Min, with Ojitani emerging the winner on shido penalties to give his team gold.
The first bronze medal was secured by the impressive Georgian team as they overcame Germany 4-1, while the hosts were unable to finish on a high as they went 4-0 down to Mongolia before Maxim Rakov restored some pride by winning the final over 90kg tie against Tuvshinbayar Naidan to reduce the arrears.
One of the pivotal contests in the women’s competition came in the quarter-finals where defending champions France were left stunned, as they were beaten 3-2 by a spirited Russian team.
It left the door open for Japan to take complete control of the competition as they stormed into the final, recording straightforward wins over the Brazil, China and then, in their semi-final contest, Mongolia.
Poland, the tournament's surprise package, were no match for Japan in the final.
Under 52 kilogram champion Misato Nakamura earned a victory by ippon in the opening bout against Karolina Pienkowska, before Anzu Yamamoto made it 2-0 with a yuko win over Arleta Podolak in the under 57kg.
The destination of the gold medals and winner’s trophy was decide moments later as Miku Tashiro secured an ippon in her under 63kg bout with Anna Borowska, before Chizuru Arai and Kanae Yamabe completed the whitewash in the dead under 70kg and over 70kg rubbers against Katarzyna Klys and Daria Pogorzelec respectively.
Russia recovered some of the form that saw them overcome France earlier in the day to see of the challenge of South Korea 3-2 and secure the first bronze, while the second was awarded to Germany after they defeated Mongolia by the same scoreline.
The Championships came to a close a Handover Ceremony to the next host city Budapest, who will stage the event in 2017, was conducted by International Judo Federation President Marius Vizer and Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister Karim Massimov.
“It was a great World Championships and the organisation was at the level we were expecting,” Vizer said in his closing speech.
“I am really happy because everything went well, from the organisational point of view to the sports dimension.
"The Kazakhstan Judo Federation can be proud of what has been achieved to hold this 2015 edition of the worlds, the last one prior to the Olympic Games, next year in Rio de Janeiro."
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