Day 3, 12 Dec. 2009

Many spotlighted judokas gathered up on the final day of the Grandslam Tokyo. Takamasa Anai and Keiji Suzuki, the present and former All Japan Champions, were greatly cheered by the audience. Both of them however could not reach the top of the podium. On the other hand, Tomoko Fukumi (-48 kg for women) and Misato Nakamura (-52 kg for women), both of the World Champions at Rotterdam, fought well as expected. In the -57 kg weight category, Hitomi Tokuhisa unanimously won the title, beating the World Champion.

-100 kg for men
In the preliminary rounds, most of Japanese disappeared, but Anai reached the final with all-ippon winnings. Another finalist was veteran Hwang Hee-Tae (KOR), who formerly won the World Championship of the -90 kg weight category. Fifteen seconds before the match getting into overtime, Hwang got yuko by kouchigari, and won the gold medal.

+100 kg for men
The audience expected to see Suzuki’s big comeback. Beating huge Hiroki Tachiyama and Abdullo Tangriev (UZB), one of the bronze medalists at Rotterdam, Suzuki became one of the finalists. Suzuki’s counterpart was another Japanese, Kazuhiko Takahashi. Suzuki, however, was thrown by Takahashi’s osotogari when the clock had just passed four minutes. This ippon win blissfully gave the title young Takahashi.

-48 kg for women
Many strong ladies crowd this weight category of Japan. World Champion Fukumi had been expected to fight with her rival, Emi Yamagishi, at the final. Yamagishi, however, was beaten by 20-year-old, intervarsity champion Kaori Kondo at a semi-final. Fukumki bounced back Kondo’s challenge, getting two shido. As the World Champion, Fukumi secured the title without any reckless attempts.

-52 kg for women
Three Japanese went away from tatami in the preliminary rounds, but World Champion Nakamura arrived at the final and fought against Petra Nareks (SLO). At the match, Nakamura showed great techniques of newaza. Nareks narrowly escaped from Nakamura’s katagatame though allowing Nakamura to get yuko. However, Nakamura smoothly controlled Nareks’s body again, held her into kuzure-kamishihogatame and got ippon.

-57 kg for women
The French World Champion, Morgane Ribout, was unexpectedly beaten by Hitomi Tokuhisa. Tokuhisa got ippon from Ribout by kuzure-kamishihogatame. At the final, Tokuhisa fought against Kaori Matsumoto, a member of the Japanese squad for the Rotterdam World Championships. Just after the match began, Tokuhisa got wazaari by uchimata. Thanks to the early big point, Tokuhisa won the title.

Chie Nagata/ Masaya Shimokusu

Day 2, 12 Dec. 2009

On Day 2 of the Grandslam Tokyo, competitions of three weight categories for men and two for women were held. The most attractive lady of the day had been Yoshie Ueno (women’s -63 kilograms), the all-ippon World Champion at Rotterdam. Ueno got the crown as expected. In the women’s -70 kg category, Mina Watanabe also won the title; she had got a bronze medal at Rotterdam, but she could not be satisfied with the result. On the other hand, in men’s three weight categories, many Japanese youngsters had been expected to do splendid performances, but they could not get any crowns. Under 90 kg, the veteran “wolf,” Takashi Ono, won the gold medal; under 81 kg and 73 kg, no Japanese stood on the top of the podium.

-73 kg for men
All four Japanese competitors are at the ages of the new power generation: high-school student Yuki Nishiyama, two university students, Riki Nakaya and Yasuhiro Awano, and 23-year-old Masahiko Otsuko. Among them, Awano, having beaten Nishiyama at a semi-final, arrived at the final and challenged Wang Ki-Chun (KOR). Presently, Wang is definitely invincible in this weight category. Wang armlocked Awano, and won the gold medal: his third Grandslam title of this year.

-81 kg for men
Recently, any of this weight category’s titles has been hard to win for Japanese. Also at this tournament, Katushi Matsumoto was the only Japanese who got through preliminary fights. Matsumoto was beaten just one second before the end of a quarter-final match by Euan Burton (GBR). Burton reached the final and fought against Kim Jae-Bum (KOR). Kim got wazaari, but Burton reversed the unfavorable tide, and got the gold medal: a big step toward the 2012 Olympic Games in his home country.

-90 kg for men
How did veteran Ono and the youngsters, Yuki Haruyama, Yuya Yoshida and Daiki Nishiyama, compete with world-class judoka? Among them, Ono, Yoshida and Nishiyama moved to semi-finals. Ono beat Yoshida; Nishiyama defeated Dilshod Choriev (UZB). At the final, Ono won against Nishiyama by two shido. It was a very close fight partly because they usually train together at the same university as Ono said after the match.

-63 kg for women
The Japanese squad, Ueno, Ikumi Tanimoto, Nozomi Hirai and Sayuri Yamamoto, showed their strength; all of them got through preliminary rounds. The match-up of the final was the most expected one: Ueno versus Tanimoto. The final was observed by their big sisters, Masae Ueno and Ayumi Tanimoto -both of them are Olympic Champions of course. However, both Ueno and Tanimoto could not attack well, and shido was piling up on both sides. Finally, Ueno won the title by hansokugachi.

-70 kg for woman
Watanabe and Yoriko Kunihara moved to semi-finals though Asuka Oka and Yuko Imai were beaten in preliminary fights. Kunihara was defeated by Anett Meszaros (HUN), the silver medalist at Rotterdam. As a result, the silver and bronze medalists of the former World Championships fought at the final. Meszaros got wazaari and two shido, but one minute and 23 seconds before the end of the match, Watanabe countered Meszaros’s movement well and got “ippon.” She stood on the top of the podium at the end of the day.

Chie Nagata/ Masaya Shimokusu

Day 1, 11 Dec. 2009

In honor of Master Jigoro Kano, the Kano Judo Cup Tournament had been held 14 times since 1978. The Tournament has had a brand-new start as “GRANDSLAM TOKYO 2009 INTERNATIONAL JUDO TOURNAMENT,” one of official judo tournaments authorized by the International Judo Federation. From 44 countries, 400 judokas gathered up in Tokyo to win the tournament, get the points, raise their rankings and pave their ways to the next World Championships, i.e., to return to Tokyo.

At the opening ceremony, a silent prayer was offered to Ms. Rena ‘Rusty’ Kanokogi, famous for her outstanding contribution to the promotion of women’s judo. Ms. Kanokogi passed away on the 21st of November.

On the Day 1 of the Tournament, the sparkling fights of four weight categories -60 and -66 kilograms for men, and -78 and +78 kilograms for women were held. All categories’ gold medals were swept by Japanese. The Japanese squad had a great start, although Olympics champion Masato Uchishiba was defeated in a quarter final.

-60kg for Men
This category was crowded with reputable judokas such as the World Champion or Olympic medalists. Getting through hard, close battles, Masaaki Fukuoka, Hirofumi Yamamoto, Hiroaki Hiraoka and Jang Jin-Min (KOR) reached semi-finals. In the final, Fukuoka beat Hiraoka, the silver medalist of this year’s World Championships, by getting two shido.

-66 kg for Men
Uchishiba and 19-year-old Masashi Ebinuma, having beaten Uchishiba at the Kodokan Cup, had been drawn attention to. Uchishiba however was arm-locked by An Jeong-Hwan (KOR). On the other hand, Ebinama beat An by awasewaza, and then won against Kim Joo-Jin by seoinage at the final; a really big winning for the up-coming youth. Another Japanese teenager, Junpei Morishita, also fought well and reached a semi-final.

-78 kg for Women
Last month, Sae Nakazawa, having been recognized as the best in this weight category in Japan in the last few years, retired. The point was: who will be next? Akari Ogata took the leading seat, winning against Sayaka Anai by yokoshihogatame at the final. Ogata had serially won the All Japan Junior Championship, the World Junior Championship and the Kodokan Cup. She added another huge crown in the end of her successful year.

+78 kg for Women
World-famous women judokas gathered up in the women’s heavy weight category. Among them, Maki Tsukada splendidly fought back, sweeping away her bitter memory at the last World Championships. Having beaten tall Polish Urszula Sadkowska and Megumi Tachimoto, a young hope of the university of which Tsukada is one of alumnae, Tsukada reached the final. Tsukada beautifully threw Elena Ivashchenko (RUS) by osotogari at the terminal fight.

Chie Nagata/Masaya Shimokusu

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懐石料理 青山
Sport for Tomorrow