Japan proved the dominant force at the International Judo Federation's (IJF) World Judo Masters in Guangzhou as the season-ending event concluded.
Japanese judokas had claimed three golds medals yesterday, but the haul was bettered on the second day of action at the Guangzhou Arena in an event featuring only the top-16 ranked judoka in each weight category.
Their superiority was reflected in the women’s under-78 kilogram final, which saw an all-Japanese battle between Mami Umeki and Ruika Sato.
Umeki pinned her compatriot to achieve an ippon in the gold medal bout, the latest contest in the ongoing effort to take the one spot available to represent Japan at their home Olympic Games at Tokyo 2020.
Shori Hamada, also from Japan, secured the first bronze medal on offer in the division.
Britain’s Natalie Powell rounded off the podium places.
Japanese youngster Saki Niizoe saw off the challenge of three-time world champion Yui Alvear of Colombia in the women’s under-70kg event, producing a waza-ari score to beat her experienced opponent.
Bronze medals were claimed by Austria’s Michaela Polleres and The Netherlands’ Sanne van Dijke.
A Japanese clean sweep of women’s titles on the final day of competition was sealed by Akira Sone, who claimed her first major title on the IJF World Judo Tour in the over-78kg category.
The 18-year-old pressured world silver medallist Idalys Ortiz, the Cuban eventually given three shido penalties, which saw Sone crowned the winner.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Larisa Ceric won the first bronze medal bout, with Brazil’s Maria Suelen Altheman securing victory in the second.
Success continued for Japan in the men’s competitions with Takeshi Sasaki triumphing in the men’s under-81kg division.
The Osaka Grand Slam champion won his contest against Aslan Lappinagov with a waza-ari score, forcing his Russian opponent to settle for second place for the second consecutive yea.
World number two Frank de Wit secured the first bronze medal, with the Dutch judoka joined on the podium by Turkey’s Vedat Albayrak.
Georgia celebrated two gold medals in the men’s divisions, with Olympic and world silver medallist Varlam Liparteliani securing the first.
Liparteliani powered through to the men’s under-100kg final, but the world number one did not have to contest the gold medal match as his opponent Otgonbaatar Lkhagvasuren of Mongolia was forced to withdraw through injury.
Egypt’s Ramadan Darwish and Japan’s Kentaro Ilda secured the bronze medals in the division.
World champion Guram Tushishvili clinched Georgia’s second title of the day, winning the men’s over-100kg event.
Tushishvili achieved an ippon against Brazil’s Olympic bronze medallist Rafael Silva to retain the title he won last year.
Silva’s compatriot David Moura and Russia’s Tamerlan Bachaev completed the podium.
Spain’s Nikoloz Sherazadishvili secured the men’s under-90kg event, the Georgian-born judoka overcoming Hungary’s Krisztián Tóth.
The reigning world champion scored two waza-aris against Tóth to triumph in the division’s final.
Russia’s Mikhail Igolnikov and Kazakhstan’s Islam Bozbayev earned the bronze medals.
Watch the action on Judo TV.