Japan were favourites at the team World Championships in Budapest and they did not disappoint, by winning against Ukraine and then in front of the delegation representing the Russian Judo Federation.
The France-Japan final was a classic of team tournaments, too. And there is no doubt that during the Tokyo Games, the two teams already imagine themselves in the final. Much can still happen by then, reports “Judo Inside”.
It took almost 2 minutes of golden score for Soichi Hashimoto to score the first point for team Japan after an heroic resistance from Joan-Benjamin Gaba, who finished totally exhausted with three penalties to his name, but who really tried as hard as possible to find an opportunity against the wall Hashimoto built.
Despite the fact that Marie-Eve Gahie seemed to dominate at the beginning of the match and that Saki Niizoe was penalised twice, during the golden score period, the Japanese athlete scored with a stylish uchi-mata for ippon giving a second point to team Japan, as the French 2019 world champion left the mat with what seemed to be a slight rib injury, which could explain that she was not at her full capacity.
With Kenta Nagasawa’s victory against Francis Damier by waza-ari, Japan scored their third point. Maya Akiba scored the last point for Japan against Lea Fontaine. The new mixed team world champions are Japan.
Soichi Hashimoto said: “Our coaches are true leaders. They made us better and motivated us. We are stronger because we feel united.”
Final JAPAN (JPN) vs. FRANCE (FRA)
-73kg: Soichi HASHIMOTO 1 / Joan-Benjamin GABA 0
-70kg: Saki NIIZOE 1 / Marie Eve GAHIE 0
-90kg: Kenta NAGASAWA 1 / Francis DAMIER 0
+70kg: Maya AKIBA 1 / Lea FONTAINE 0
+90kg: Kokoro KAGEURA / Cedric OLIVAR
-57kg: Haruka FUNAKUBO / Gaetane DEBERDT