July 27, 2021
By Tetsushi Kajimoto
TOKYO (Reuters) – Takanori Nagase kept alive Japan’s hopes of striking gold in judo when he advanced into the men’s -81kg semi-finals at the Tokyo Olympics by defeating Germany’s Dominic Ressel on Tuesday.
If Rio bronze medallist Nagase wins the -81kg final later on Tuesday, that would mark a fifth judo gold medal for hosts Japan at the Games, edging them closer to their previous Olympic record of eight titles in 2004 in Athens.
In a gruelling quarter-final that lasted over six-and-half minutes, the 27-year-old Nagase, a uchimata inner thigh throw specialist, delivered kosotogake minor outer prop to throw Ressel down on the tatami mats to earn a waza-ari victory.
In the women’s -63kg category, Rio silver medallist Clarisse Agbegnenou took another step closer to getting her hands on the top prize by advancing into the semi-finals by outclassing Dutchwoman Juul Franssen.
The Frenchwoman, five times a world champion, dismissed Franssen with a waza-ari throw.
Earlier in the day, the 28-year-old Agbegnenou took just 20 seconds to secure an ippon victory by taniotoshi valley drop against Sandrine Billiet of Cape Verde in the elimination round of 16.
Canada’s Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard produced a number of dynamic victories to also reach the semi-finals.
Slovenia’s Tina Trstenjak and Italy’s Maria Centracchio also secured places in the last four.
Japan’s Miku Tashiro suffered a crashing ippon knockout defeat by Agata Ozdoba-Blach of Poland in the round of 16. The Polish judoka was subsequently beaten by Centracchio in the quarter-finals.
The session that will decide the medallists in the men’s -81kg and women’s -63 categories are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. local time/0800 GMT.
(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto, editing by Pritha Sarkar)