Judo-Five to watch at the Tokyo Olympics
June 24 (Reuters) – Five judokas to watch at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics:
TEDDY RINER (FRANCE)
The 32-year-old French heavyweight will be aiming for his third consecutive Olympic gold medal, tying a record held by Japanese great Tadahiro Nomura.
Last year, 10-time world champion and two-time Olympic champion, Riner lost for the first time in nearly a decade, ending his 154-game winning streak dating back to 2010 after being beaten by Japan’s Kokoro Kageura at the Paris Grand Slam.
DARIA BILODID (UKRAINE)
Bilodid won the 2018 World Championships at the age of 17, becoming the youngest judoka to win a world title, breaking Ryoko Tamura’s record set at 18.
With his parents, both judokas, Bilodid declined an offer to become a model, while focusing his career on Japanese martial arts.
HIFUMI ABE (JAPAN)
The oldest of the Abe brothers, two-time world champion Hifumi grabbed the Olympic spot in the men’s 66kg category after winning a dramatic one-off fight.
A seoi-nage specialist, Abe has an aggressive fighting style, fast paced with an average win time of 2-1 / 2 minutes. He rose to fame when he became Youth Olympic Champion in 2014 and won the Tokyo Grand Slam that year.
UTA ABE (JAPAN)
The younger sister of Abe siblings, Uta was born in the port city of Kobe in western Japan. She has won the last two world titles in the under 52 kg category, having lost only once, to France’s Amandine Bouchard, in the past three years.
Abe was the youngest judoka to win an IJF (International Judo Federation) Grand Prix in 2016 and won her first world title in 2018 at the age of 18, becoming the third youngest judoka to win a senior world.
SHOHEI ONO (JAPAN)
Ono demonstrates an orthodox fighting style, aiming to secure a victory over Ippon with throwing techniques such as “Osotogari” and “Uchimata”. His judo style has earned him a nickname “Mozart of the 73kg class” among some fans.
The most dominant fighter in the lightweight division, Ono has won three world championships and an Olympic gold medal, having been undefeated in international competitions since 2015.
Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Ken Ferris
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