Japan have won the mixed team event at the IJF World Championships for the third year in succession ©Getty Images

Japan have won the mixed team event at the International Judo Federation (IJF) World Championships for the third year in succession.

The hosts defeated France 4-2, Shori Hamada pinning Madeleine Malonga in osaekomi to seal victory following an enthralling series of final bouts.

Japan had called up two of their biggest names - Shohei Ono and Chizuru Arai - for the final, and they proved crucial in ensuring they retained the mixed team title also won at Budapest in 2017 and Baku last year.

Bronze medals went to Russia and Brazil, after they claimed victories over Azerbaijan and Mongolia respectively.

In the mixed team event, teams of three male judoka, at under-73 kilograms, under-90kg and over-90kg, and three female judoka, from under-57kg, under-70kg and over-70kg, competed together under their national flags.

This year's event had even more importance, as the mixed team competition will make its Olympic debut as a medal event at Tokyo 2020 next summer.

Japan were awesome in reaching the final, seeing off South Korea and Brazil without losing a fight.

France, meanwhile, were less convincing, needing to come from behind in all of their matches en route to the final, against Austria, Cuba and Russia.

Hosts Japan defeated France 4-2 in an enthralling denouement at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo ©Getty Images
Hosts Japan defeated France 4-2 in an enthralling denouement at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo ©Getty Images

In the final, Japan started strongly in the men's over-90 kilogram fight, Kokoro Kageura sweeping Cyrille Maret for ippon.

Any thoughts the packed home crowd were having of a quick whitewash were thwarted, however, when under-57kg silver medallist Tsukasa Yoshida was thrown for ippon by Sarah-Leonie Cysique after just 24 seconds.

Ono took centre stage at this point in a Championships which he has dominated after returning from a three-year absence while he studied at university.

The under-73kg world and Olympic champion ruthlessly threw Guillaime Chaine twice within 30 seconds using his favoured uchi-mata technique to put Japan ahead.

Arai, who lost her under-70kg title in one of the most stunning upsets of these Championships, then put Japan one win from the title as she beat Marie-Ève Gahié, the woman who took her individual crown.

After an engrossing fight, in which Gahié nearly threw Arai for ippon, the Japanese judoka won by osaekomi in the final 30 seconds of the match.

Axel Clerget gave France hope as he beat Sanshiro Murao in the under-90kg clash, overcoming an extensive mid-fight medical time-out for strapping on his shoulder.

In golden score, Clerget pinned Murao who tapped out, only for the referee on the tatami to initially miss the submission - it was awarded by video decision.

It, therefore, came down to a repeat of the under-78kg final between Malonga and Hamada, with the Japanese judoka gaining revenge for the loss of her individual crown with a ruthless osaekomi in the final bout of an extraordinary week of judo.