Naohisa Takato Claims Japan's 1St Tokyo Gold With Judo Win

Distria Krasniqi of Kosovo reacts after competing against Funa Tonaki of Japan during their women's -48kg championship judo match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 24, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Distria Krasniqi of Kosovo reacts after competing against Funa Tonaki of Japan during their women's -48kg championship judo match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 24, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
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TOKYO (AP) — Naohisa Takato won Japan’s first gold medal at its home Olympics, beating Taiwan's Yang Yung-wei in the men’s 60-kilogram judo final on Saturday night.

Kosovo’s Distria Krasniqi beat Japan’s Funa Tonaki in the women’s 48-kilogram final less than an hour before Takato made sure his team wouldn’t have a double heartbreak on the opening day of competition in its beloved homegrown martial art.

Takato won his final three bouts in sudden-death golden score, but he took the final a bit anticlimactically after Yang committed too many fouls.

The charismatic Takato’s success — and Tonaki’s heartbreaking, last-minute defeat — could provide a much-needed jolt of excitement for a nation still feeling profoundly ambivalent about these Olympics and discouraged by the scandals and coronavirus setbacks surrounding them.

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