Japan enjoyed a strong showing in the lightweight divisions ©IJF

Japanese judokas claimed two gold medals on the opening day of the International Judo Federation (IJF) Junior World Championships as four titles were decided in the United Arab Emirates’ capital city Abu Dhabi.

Funa Tonaki led the Japanese charge as the lightweight divisions took to the tatami with the women’s under 48 kilogram judoka claiming ippons in each of her contests, including her semi-final bout against France’s Sephora Corcher.

A stronger test awaited Tonaki in the gold medal match, but she was able to overcome reigning cadet world champion Marusa Stangar of Slovenia by producing another stunning ippon, having taken the lead earlier in the bout with a yuko.

The Japanese star was joined on the podium by her compatriot Mikoto Tsunemi as she earned a shido penalty victory over Moldova’s Cristina Budescu in their bronze medal bout, while Corcher recovered from her semi-final loss to earn the second bronze by beating Germany’s Miriam Schneider with a waza-ari.

Ryuju Nagayama suffered a scare in his men’s under 60kg first round match against Kazakhstan’s Bauyrzhan Zhauyntayev, where he eventually triumphed on shido penalties, but he delivered a series of impressive ippons to set up a gold medal bout with Mongolia’s Tsendochir Tsogtbaatar.

Tsogtbaatar was forced to settle for silver for the second consecutive year as he fell a shido penalty behind in the early stages and his defeat was confirmed with 30 seconds remaining as Nagayama produced a stunning ippon to claim another gold for Japan.

An ippon victory over Britain’s Neil Macdonald proved enough for France’s Walide Khyar to take bronze, with South Korea’s Channyeong Kim claiming the other minor medal after securing a narrow yuko win over Egypt’s Ahmed Abelrahman.

Four gold medals were awarded on the opening day of action
Four gold medals were awarded on the opening day of action ©Twitter

The second men’s title of the day was earned by Kazakhstan’s Magzhan Shamshadin after he secured an ippon in the final 20 seconds of his under 55kg gold medal bout against Harim Lee of South Korea.

Mongolia’s Amartuvshin Bayaraa and Georgia’s Irakli Kupatadze claimed the division’s bronze medals after recording ippon wins over Azerbaijan’s Natig Gurbanli and Russia’s Yago Abuladze respectively.

Despite their disappointment in the men’s under 55kg division, South Korea would end the opening day of the Championships with a gold to their credit as Hyekyeong Lee defeated Japan’s Riko Igarashi with a yuko to secure the women’s under 44kg crown.

Brazil’s Rita Reis earned a victory by ippon over Russia’s Sitora Boymatova and Mongolia’s Ganbaatar Narantsetseg defeated The Netherlands’ Amber Gersjes with a yuko to earn bronze medals.

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