Edition No. 30. Spring, 2002. Today is
 
 Japanese Hosts Complete Clean Sweep in Japan Cup
12-13 January 2002
Tokyo, Japan



The 2002 Japan Open International Judo Tournament hosted by the All Japan Judo Federation took place at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo. Over 150 judokas from approximately 30 member National Federations took part in this event.

Japan swept all four weight classes on the opening day of the inaugural Japan International judo tournament. In the -100kg veteran Keiji Suzuki (the winner at last year's University Games in Beijing), was never in danger from Arata Kojima, throwing him for Waza-ari and holding in Tate-shio-gatame, to claim the title..

Yoshihiro Akiyama, a 26-year-old former South Korean resident captured his first international title as a Japanese (after previously competing for South Korea and winning the Asian Championships 2001). In the -81kg Akiyama beat Takashi Ono by a unanimous judges decision after both judokas ended the final without score. This was Akiyama's second title since obtaining Japanese citizenship in September 2001, the first being at the Kodokan Cup national weightcategory championships in November. Kenzo Nakamura, Gold medallist at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, finished off the day in third place in this category.

Masatoshi Uchishiba came from behind to snatch the -60 kg title from Tatsuaki Egusa scoring Yuko with just two seconds left in the final. While Michihiro Omigawa rolled Katsuhiro Kitagawa into Tate-shihogatame and held him for Ippon in the -66kg final.

On the second day two finals were all Japanese affairs, while in the -73kg final Masahiro Takamatsu defeated Daniel Fernandes of France to complete a Japanese clean sweep of all seven titles at this event. The 2000 World Junior Champion threw the European Bronze medallist Fernendes to score Yuko twice, but received a scare when the Frenchman pulled off a strong attack. However one of the corner judges gestured the score as only a Yuko, which decided the winner of the category, as Takamatsu held on to the lead for victory. "I thought he had scored waza ari. I think it would have been a waza ari if we were playing in France. But judges decide everything and we just accept their decision," said Takamatsu, 19. "I just tried to do my best, because everybody expected me to win and make a clean sweep for Japan. It really fired me up. Since I won the Kodokan Cup in my high school days, I have struggled a lot mentally."

With Yuta Yazaki winning the middleweight title and Tatsuhiro Muramoto winning th heavyweight trophy to wind up the inaugural twoday competition.

In the -90Kg Yuta Yazaki threw Seigo Saito with a left Uchi-mata two minutes 56 seconds into the final. After the fight Yazaki, 21 said "I lost to him (Saito) twice before, so I was determined to beat him today. I was confident that I could throw him once I could get hold of him. I was able to do it because I tried to do it although I was unbalanced,"

Tatsuhiro Muramoto narrowly defeated Yasuyuki Muneta by split decision to win the +100kg title. It was an excellent day for Muramoto, who defeated World Silver Medallist Frank Moeller of Germany and 2000 World Junior Champion Gadji Gadjimourad Mouslimov of Russia on his way to the final. "I wanted to play my better judo today. Since I finished third at the Korean International, I prepared for this event," said the 2000 Asian Open-class Champion.

Officials at the first Japan International Judo Tournament expressed concern about the lack of competition provided by foreigners, after none advanced to a final in any of the four weight classes on the opening day. Of 65 foreign judoka competing on Saturday, only two made it as far as the semifinals and only one, from Kazakhstan, won a Bronze medal.

"It's clear the foreign athletes have not trained sufficiently" said a Japanese judo official!

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2002 Japan Cup

RESULTS

-60 Kg
1) M. UCHISHIBA (JPN)
2) T. EGUSA (JPN)
3) B. DONBAY (KAZ)
3) D. HYUN (KOR)

-66 Kg
1) M. OMIGAWA (JPN)
2) K. KITAGAWA (JPN)
3) H. KIM (KOR)
3) T. TORII (JPN)

- 73 Kg
1) M. TAKAMATSU (JPN)
2) D. FERNANDES (FRA)
3) Y. KANAMARU (JPN)
3) E. AKBAROV (UZB)

- 81 Kg
1) Y. AKIYAMA (JPN)
2) T. ONO (JPN)
3) E. NOSE (JPN)
3) K. NAKAMURA (JPN)

- 90 Kg
1) Y. YAZAKI (JPN)
2) S. SAITO (JPN)
3) H. IZUMI (JPN)
3) H. HWANG (KOR)

- 100 Kg
1) K. SUZUKI (JPN)
2) A. KOJIMA (JPN)
3) T. KOZAI (JPN)
3) T. INOUE (JPN)

+100 Kg
1) T. MURAMOTO (JPN)
2) Y. MUNETA (JPN)
3) S. ICHINOWATARI (JPN)
3) G. MOUSLIMOV (RUS)

 
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