(Refile to correct spelling of judokas in paragraph 1) By Tetsushi Kajimoto TOKYO (Reuters) – Reigning champion judoka Shohei Ono, 29, made his way into the semifinals on Monday seeking to win his second Olympic gold and join other Japanese judokas in a medal rush in Tokyo, while Tsukasa Yoshida secured her place in the […]
Olympics-Judo-Japan ace judoka Ono seeks second Olympic gold medal
(Refile to correct spelling of judokas in paragraph 1)
By Tetsushi Kajimoto
TOKYO (Reuters) – Reigning champion judoka Shohei Ono, 29, made his way into the semifinals on Monday seeking to win his second Olympic gold and join other Japanese judokas in a medal rush in Tokyo, while Tsukasa Yoshida secured her place in the women’s semifinals.
The three-time world champion Ono adopted an orthodox yet powerful combating style, aiming to clinch an ippon victory – judo’s version of knockout – with dynamic throwing techniques like osotogari major outer reap and uchimata inner thigh throw.
In Monday’s eliminations rounds Ono reigned over the tatami mats, demonstrating a calm manner, stern attitude and strength that made him appear unbeatable in his 73 kg category. He finished off all the three matches in less than four-minute contest time, without having to go to overtime.
Ono defeated Rustam Orujov of Azerbaijan in the quarterfinal by throwing him twice to earn two incomplete waza-aris to make it an ippon victory.
In the round of 32, Ono delivered a dynamic uchimata inner thigh throw for an ippon victory against Romania’s Alexandru Raicu. Ono went on to defeat Bilal Ciloglu of Turkey in the round of 16 by pinning him for an ippon victory.
Ono’s judo style and strength have earned him the nickname “Mozart of the 73 kg class” or “Japan’s Teddy Riner” among some fans. French judoka Olympic champion Riner is aiming for a third consecutive gold medal in the men’s +100 kg category, the heaviest weight division in the sport.
Some others call Ono’s bouts “sho(w) time,” associating his name with popular Major League Baseball player Shohei Otani.
The most dominant fighter in the lightweight division, Ono has won three world championships and Rio Olympics gold medal, while remaining unbeaten in international contests since 2015.
In the women’s 57 kg category, Tsukasa Yoshida, 25, one time world champion and Olympic debutant, achieved ipponzeoi one armed shoulder throw against Lu Tongjuan of China in less than one and a half minutes to advance into the quarter finals.
Yoshida beat Timma Nelson Levy of Israel by scoring waza-ari with an incomplete throwing technique in the quarter final.
Both women’s 57 kg and men’s 73 kg semifinals and finals are scheduled in evening sessions from 5 p.m. (0800 GMT) on Monday.
(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Michael Perry)