Olympics-Judo-Arai wins women’s -70 kg gold to keep Japan’s medal rush going

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Judo - Women's 70kg - Quarterfinal
Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Judo – Women’s 70kg – Quarterfinal – Nippon Budokan – Tokyo, Japan – July 28, 2021. Chizuru Arai of Japan in action against Giovanna Scoccimarro of Germany REUTERS/Sergio Perez

July 28, 2021

By Tetsushi Kajimoto

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s double world champion judoka Chizuru Arai won the gold medal in the women’s -70 kg category on Wednesday, beating Michaela Polleres of Austria in a gruelling final and earning the host nation its sixth judo gold.

The Japanese team have won judo gold medals for five straight days and are now just two short of their previous record of eight gold medals in the 2004 Athen Summer Olympics.

Sanne Van Dijke of Netherlands and Madina Taimazova of the Russian Olympic Committee won the bronze medals.

Arai, 27 years old and fifth in the world rankings, won her two preliminary matches by ippon – judo’s equivalent of a knockout. In the quarter finals, Arai pinned German Giovanna Scoccimarro down for a solid ippon victory.

She struggled to execute a decisive technique in the semifinal however, taking more than 16 and a half minutes before winning with a sliding lapel choke against Taimazova.

In the men’s judo -90 kg division, Georgian judoka Lasha Bekauri won the gold medal, beating Eduard Trippel of Germany in the final.

Davlat Bobonov of Uzbekistan and Krisztian Toth of Hungary were awarded the bronze medals.

Japan’s Shoichiro Mukai, who had been fancied to do well in the category, suffered a shock loss to Toth in the last 16.

(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Hugh Lawson)