World champion Uta Abe suffered her first defeat on the International Judo Federation World Tour in three years on the opening day of the Osaka Grand Slam.
Abe had won 48 consecutive bouts since her last defeat on the IJF World Tour circuit back in 2016, but the run came to an end in the final of the women’s under-52 kilogram event at the Maruzen Intec Arena Osaka.
She met world number one Amandine Buchard of France in the gold medal bout, with the contest proving closely contest.
Buchard snatched victory with a waza-ari score four minutes into a golden score period.
As well as ending her winning streak, the loss delayed Abe confirmation as Japan’s representative in the weight division at next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Bronze medals were claimed by Japan’s Ai Shishime and Chishima Maeda after they overcame South Korea’s Park Da-Sol and Brazil’s Larissa Pimenta respectively.
Abe’s disappointment will have been eased by her brother’s success in the men’s under-66 kilogram competition.
Former world champion Hifumi Abe faced a must win in the gold medal match against reigning world champion Joshiro Maruyama.
With the All Japan Judo Federation High Performance Committee determining the all reigning world champions who claimed gold in Osaka would be selected for the Olympics, Abe had to beat his rival to keep his Tokyo 2020 hopes alive.
He rose to the challenge by beating Maruyama with a waza-ari score in the gold medal match to keep the Japanese selection alive.
An all-Japanese podium was completed by Yuki Aida and Yuki Nishiyama, who beat Spain's Daniel Perez Roman and David Garcia Torne.
Japanese judokas proved the dominant force on the first day in front of a home crowd.
Three-time world champion Naohisa Takato achieved a record of 10 Grand Slam gold medal wins, as he beat world number one Ryuju Nagayama in an all-Japanese men’s under-60 kilogram final.
He clinched victory in a golden score period.
South Korea’s Kim Won-Jin and Chinese Taipei’s Yang Jung Wei claimed the bronze medals in the division, after beating Japan's Dai Aoki and South Korea's Lee Harim.
Japan’s Funa Tonaki moved closer to clinching a place at Tokyo 2020 as the world number two topped the women’s under-48 kilogram podium.
Tonaki scored twice against Marrakech Grand Prix winner Julia Figueroa of Spain in the gold medal match.
Japan’s Natsumi Tsunoda and Wakana Koga earned bronze medals in the division.
They overcame Spain's Mireia Lapuerta Comas and Japan's Ami Kondo.
A fourth gold medal in five divisions for the host nation was earned by Momo Tamaoki as the Japanese judoka overcame Chinese Taipei’s Lien Chen-Ling with an ippon score.
Mongolia’s Sumiya Dorjsuren and Canada’s Jessica Klimkait rounded off the podium places in the division.
The pair beat Haruka Funakubo and Tsukasa Yoshida.
The Grand Slam event is due to continue tomorrow, with four more weight divisions due to be contested.
Watch all the action on Judo TV.