Double gold for Japan on day one of Tashkent World Judo Championships

As part of the IJF’s flagship tournament, the 2022 World Judo Championships has collaborated with the Uzbek government to organize a groundbreaking event: the Judo Economic Forum.

Members of the judo family, government, representatives of the private sector and the media, came together to learn more about the bridges between the economy and sport. A starting point for an initiative intended to help both the economy and the sports community.

This same community traveled to the Humo Arena, for the first day of the World Judo Championships, a day that saw Japan firmly in the lead.

Tsunoda calm and collected

Defending world champion Tsunoda Natsumi was calm and collected. With her favorite attack Tomoe Nage and total dominance on the floor, she forced one opponent after another into submission to set up a final against Germany’s Katharina Menz.

Throughout the day, Menz had surprised many of the best in the category to earn her place in her first World Final, and she seemed determined to bring about another shock.

In the finals, however, Tsunoda showed that her baseline work was way above the rest, and she firmly stamped her name in the -48kg category, becoming a two-time world champion.

IJF President Marius Vizer was on hand to present the medals.

“I was very nervous,” Tsunoda said. “But I’m afraid of being like a stranger and I try to do my best.”

Takato on fire

Japan’s Golden Boy, Takato Naohisa, was back for his first competition since becoming Olympic champion last year. And the notoriously feline Takato was on fire. The semi-final saw a rematch of the Olympic final, and once again Chinese Taipei mega-star Yang Yung Wei failed to fight his way past his Japanese rival.

As in the women’s final, a Japanese judoka faced a surprise withdrawal, this time the young Mongolian Ariunbold Enkhtaivan.

Takato’s explosive power and speed were too much, however, and he won an incredible fourth world title. Now simultaneously Olympic champion and world champion, Takato has written his name in the history books.

IJF Ambassador and world famous singer Albano Carrisi presented the medals.

“I love judo and I watch judo all the time, said Takato. “I can stay on top because I train every day several times”

Although Uzbekistan narrowly missed out on a medal, Baratov showed great respect and friendship to Kazakhstan’s Smetov after his bronze medal fight, a sign of great things to come at these World Championships.