Joshiro Maruyama and Ai Shishime became double world champions after they both claimed titles on a golden day for Japan at the International Judo Federation World Championships in Budapest.
The Japanese duo will not be at this year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics, underlining the depth of judo talent in Japan.
But after missing out on selection for the Games, Maruyama and Shishime responded in fantastic fashion at the Papp László Budapest Sportarén.
Shishime has now won a medal at four successive World Championships, with her latest women’s under-52-kilogram title adding to the gold she achieved in 2017 along with a silver in 2018 and bronze in 2019.
Budapest was the venue for Shishime’s previous gold medal triumph and she starred again in the Hungarian capital.
Ana Perez Box was the challenger in the final, but Shishime proved too strong for the Spaniard, throwing her opponent on to her side before pinning her to the ground for a title-winning ippon.
There was more Japanese success to come as Maruyama retained the men’s under-66kg title.
World number one Manuel Lombardo of Italy was hoping to add a first world crown to the European gold which he won earlier this year.
But Maruyama had the better of the early exchanges before flipping the Italian over for a waza-ari which proved to be the decisive point.
It was Japan’s third gold medal of the tournament following Natsumi Tsunoda’s victory in the women’s under-48kg category yesterday.
Yakub Shamilov secured bronze for the ROC after overcoming Orkhan Safarov of Azerbaijan, while Baskhuu Yondonperenlei of Mongolia sealed a place on the podium after Yeldos Zhumakanov of Kazakhstan was forced to pull out of their bronze medal match due to injury.
Fabienne Kocher of Switzerland and Gefen Primo of Israel also finished the day with a bronze medal around their neck after defeating Joana Ramos of Portugal and Diyora Keldiyorova of Uzbekistan respectively.
Unlike the opening day, which was played out behind closed doors, around 300 fans took their seats inside the arena to watch the action.
And the home crowd had reason to cheer in the first two rounds as Hungarian Reka Pupp defeated Poland’s Agata Perenc and Alesya Kuznesova of ROC to secure a meeting with world number three Shishime.
With fans behind her, Pupp looked to cause an upset but a waza-ari helped Shishime to settle into the contest before securing the victory.
There was mixed success for Belgium in the early rounds as Charline Van Snick, an Olympic bronze medallist and former European champion, suffered a surprise defeat in her opener against Nursulu Yeraliyeva of Kazakhstan before Amber Ryheul pulled off a shock result of her own.
The Belgian secured an ippon to beat Olympic silver medallist Jeong Bo-kyeong of South Korea before going on to defeat Astride Gneto of France.
After reaching the quarter-finals Ryheul’s hopes of gold ended in a flash when she was beaten by Diyora Keldiroya in just 12 seconds after succumbing to an ippon.
Arguably the biggest shock in the men’s draw came in the second round when Vadim Bunescu of Moldova defeated world number three Vazha Margvelashvili of Georgia in a bruising battle.
Bunescu had to leave the mat to receive medical attention to stem the blood coming from his head, but he refused to lie down when he return, claiming an ippon in the golden-score period to beat Margvelashvili.
There were a lot more stoppages compared to yesterday with players picking up knocks including Ukraine's Tetiana Levytska who suffered a blow to her knee during her second-round clash with Azeri judoka Gultaj Mammadaliyeva.
Zhumakanov was also stretchered off and later taken to hospital for further checks after sustaining an injury in his semi-final defeat to Lombardo, meaning he was unable to face Yondonperenlei in the battle for bronze.
Competition is scheduled to continue tomorrow with the women's under-57kg and men's under-72kg preliminary rounds, semi-finals and finals.
Every day, insidethegames will be providing in-depth coverage featuring a live blog with the latest results, a full round-up report at the end of the day, and a picture gallery showing the best of the action.
To read our second day Live Blog click here.