Host judoka claims Japan's first gold medal at Tokyo Olympics

Takato Naohisa (left) of Japan competes with Yang Yung Wei of Chinese Taipei during the men's 60kg final of Judo competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, on July 24, 2021 - Source: Xinhua
24/07/2021 10:13 PM

TOKYO, July 24 -- Japanese judoka Naohisa Takato and Distria Krasniqi of Kosovo dominated on day one of the Tokyo Olympics judo competition in Nippon Budokan on Saturday.

Xinhua News Agency reported in men's -60kg semifinal, Takato defeated Yeldos Smetov of Kazakhstan in a tough match with a seven-minute golden hour, his opponent in the final, Yang Yung-Wei of Chinese Taipei, also went through a long battle.

However, Yang suffered a match-deciding penalty in the final, surrendering the gold medal to the Japanese.

Yeldos Smetov of Kazakhstan and French judoka Luka Mkheidze bagged bronze medals in men's -60kg category.

In women's -48kg, after beating world champion Daria Bilodid of Ukraine in the semifinal, home favourite Funa Tonaki encountered Distria Krasniqi of Kosovo in the final and was defeated by a waza-ari in three minutes and 41 seconds, which marked Kosovo's first gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics.

The 19-year-old Daria Bilodid and Urantsetseg Munkhbat of Mongolia earned bronze medals in women's -48kg category.

Chinese judoka Li Yanan finished 9th in women's -48kg. She beat Rio Olympics bronze medalist Otgontsetseg Galbadrakh of Kazakhstan by an ippon in the round of 32 but lost to Portuguese Catarina Costa in the same way in the next round.

The 27-year-old told Xinhua that she was not satisfied with the result despite Costa's world ranking being much higher than hers.

"I did well in the first round, but was overwhelmed by the European judoka in the second round, she was stronger than me," said Li. "However, I was happy to be here, on the biggest stage in the world."