Double gold for Japan on Day 1 at Tashkent Judo World Championships

As part of the IJF’s flagship tournament, the 2022 World Judo Championships collaborated with the Uzbekistan government to hold a groundbreaking event: The Judo Economic Forum.

Members of the judo family, government, private sector representatives and media, gathered to learn more about the bridges between the Economy and Sport. A starting point for an initiative intended to help both the economy and the sports community.

That same community attended the Humo Arena, for the first day of the World Judo Championships, a day which saw Japan firmly on top.

Tsunoda calm and collected

Reigning World Champion Tsunoda Natsumi was calm and collected. With her favourite Tomoe Nage attack and her complete dominance on the floor, she forced one opponent after another to submit to set up a final against Katharina Menz of Germany.

Throughout the day, Menz had surprised many of the best in the category to earn her spot in her first World final, and she looked determined to cause another shock.

In the final, though, Tsunoda showed that her groundwork is many levels above the rest, and she stamped her name firmly on the -48kg category, becoming a double World Champion.

IJF President Marius Vizer was on hand to award the medals.

“I was very nervous,” Tsunoda said. “But I fear I’m like a stranger and I try to do my best .”

Takato on fire

Japan’s Golden boy, Takato Naohisa, was back for his first competition since becoming Olympic Champion last year. And the notoriously cat-like Takato was on fire. The semi-final saw a rematch of the Olympic Final, and once again Chinese Taipei mega-star Yang Yung Wei couldn’t find a way past his Japanese rival.

As in the Women’s final, a Japanese judoka faced a surprise package, this time Mongolian youngster Ariunbold Enkhtaivan.

Takato’s explosive power and speed were too much though and he took an incredible fourth World title. Now concurrently Olympic and World Champion, Takato has written his name into the history books.

IJF Ambassador and world-famous singer Albano Carrisi awarded the medals.

“I love judo and I watch judo all the time, Takato said. “I can stay at the top because I practice every day several times”

Although Uzbekistan narrowly missed out on a medal, Baratov showed great respect and friendship to Kazakhstan’s Smetov at the end of their bronze medal contest, a sign of great things to come at these World Championships.

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