Olympics-Judo-Japan ace Ono wins second Olympic gold
By Tetsushi Kajimoto
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese judoka Shohei Ono won a second consecutive Olympic gold medal in the -73kg category after dwarfing Georgian Lasha Shavdatuashvili in a close match at the Tokyo Games on Monday.
Ono joined other Japanese judokas in Tokyo in a medal frenzy, with Tsukasa Yoshida also outclassing another Georgian, Eteri Liparteliani, and securing bronze in the 57kg women's class.
As the most dominant fighter in the lightweight class, Ono had already won three world championship titles and Olympic gold in his favorite discipline at the games in Rio 2016 and has been unbeaten in international competitions since 2015.
Ono adopted a steady but powerful fighting style and aimed to achieve an ippon victory - the judo version of knockout - using dynamic throwing techniques such as Osotogari Major Outer Reap and Uchimata Inner Thigh Throw.
Up to the quarter-finals, Ono was the dominant force on the tatami mats, demonstrating a calm manner, a strict demeanor and strength that made him seem unbeatable. He finished all three competitions in less than four minutes.
However, Ono struggled to deliver a decisive throw in his last two fights and narrowly defeated semi-final opponents Tsogtbaatar Tsend-Ochir from Mongolia and Shavdatuashvili by Waza-ari - incomplete throw - in sudden death overtime.
Tsend-Ochir and the South Korean An Chang-rim both won bronze medals.
"I had a feeling that in a competitive world it was ambiguous, so I felt a sense of fear in the extra times in the final and in the semifinals," Ono told reporters. "With this victory I think I managed to bring my presence closer to an overwhelming absolute."
Ono added that the competition without a spectator made him "sad".
Ono's judo style and strength have earned him the nickname “Mozart of the 73 kg class” or “Japan's Teddy Riner” with some fans.
Some others call Ono's fights "Sho (w) -Time" and link his name to popular Major League Baseball player Shohei Ohtani.
In the women's -57 kg category, Nora Gjakova from Kosovo won the gold medal and defeated Sarah Leonie Cysique from France in the final.
It was the second judo gold for Kosovo in Tokyo after Distria Krasniqi triumphed in the women's 48kg class at the weekend.
In addition to Yoshida, Jessica Klimkait from Canada also won bronze.
The 25-year-old Yoshida, who won the world title in 2018, suffered a shock defeat to Gjakova in the semifinals before he equaled Liparteliani for an Ippon victory in the battle for the bronze medal.
(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Michael Perry and Pritha Sarkar)
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