Clarisse Agbegnenou from Rennes survived a huge scare against Japan’s Miku Tashiro to capture an emotional fourth world judo title Wednesday and fourth overall after a ferocious women’s 63-kilogram final.
Israel’s Sagi Muki powered to a surprise victory in the men’s 81-kilo class at Tokyo’s iconic Budokan, venue for next summer’s Olympic Games.
However, it was the women’s half-middleweights who stole the show on day four of the Tokyo 2020 test event.
Agbegnenou, the 2016 Rio Olympic silver medallist, took an 8-1 record over Tashiro into the final, a repeat of last year’s championship match in Baku, but had to dig deep to bag her third successive world title.
But feeding of the deafening noise of the home crowd, the plucky Tashiro took Agbegnenou out of her comfort zone with a flurry of attacks in a marathon 11-minute match.
Tashiro looked on the cusp of victory when she hooked her opponent’s leg, only to hesitate – and with lightning speed Agbegnenou flipped the Japanese fighter onto her back as both women flopped onto the mat exhausted.
Agbegnenou gave Tashiro the thumbs up to acknowledge her bravery in a barnstorming final before the two rivals shared a warm embrace.
Tashiro, who had beaten Slovenia’s Olympic champion Tina Trstenjak in the semi-finals, looked inconsolable after failing to improve on her 2018 silver medal.
Germany’s Martyna Trajdos and Dutchwoman Juul Franssen took bronze medals.
World number two Muki pummelled Belgium’s European champion Matthias Casse in the men’s 81-kilo final, rolling him onto his back with a blistering power move for an ippon victory.
Casse had upset Iran’s defending champion Saeid Mollaei in the semi-finals but was no match for Muki, who was overcome with emotion at winning gold.
Canada’s Antoine Valois-Fortier and Luka Maisuradze of Georgia picked up bronze medals.
Japan tops the medals table after Joshiro Maruyama, Uta Abe and Shohei Ono bagged golds earlier in the week.
The 2020 Olympic hosts also dominated the 2018 world championships in Baku, capturing eight of the 15 gold medals available.
Source: France 24, AFP