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Korea and Uzbekistan surprise Japan at Asian Games opening day
29 Aug 2018 13:50
Not Japan but Korea is the winner at day one of the Asian Games in Jakarta. An Baul took the victory in the category U66kg which was an expected victory despite the opposition from Japan, Kazachstan and Kyrgyzstan. However the gold medal for Jeong BoKyeong was kind of a surprise.
Jeong, the runner-up of the Olympic Games defeated Ami Kondo of Japan in the final U48kg. Orgontsetseg Galbadrakh and Urantsetseg Munkhbat shared the bronze medal.
Japan however claimed the gold as 2017 World Championships runner-up Natsumi Tsunoda won her category U52kg. Park Da-Sol was expected to reach the final whilst Song Sim Rim took bronze as well as Thai judoka Kachakorn Warasiha who defeated Mongolian Ganbold. The strong team of Mongolia couldn’t impress so far but is expected to take more medals during the week. Tsunoda shrugged off an injured back to win a gold medal Wednesday, scoring a convincing victory over South Korean Park Da-sol. Tsunoda, had a clear ippon victory against the unheralded Park.
Diyorbek Urozboev took the gold medal for Uzbekistan. In the final the lightweight overcame Toru Shishime in the golden score by wazari. The Uzbek, now ranked 26 in the World defeated Lee Ha-Rim of Korea in the semi final. Lee won bronze as well as Yung Wei Yang. Nine countries distributed the 16 medals today in Indonesia, Japan with three silver and one gold and Korea leading with two times gold.
Yeldos Smetov got injured and seems to miss the World Championships in Baku in September.
Tomorrow super action U73kg and U81kg and women's U57kg and U63kg divisions.
Tsunoda, who strained her back in the run-up to competition, deployed the tomoe-nage technique for a waza-ari before finishing off the match with a vice grip armlock with 2 minutes and 18 seconds remaining.
“I didn’t have any serious injuries all year but then I strained my back. I felt like a grandmother,” she said with a laugh.
“My back was hurting but I got a lot of support from everyone on my team. I couldn’t practice because of my injury but I never caved in and fought my style of judo.”
Tsunoda said with the Asian Games gold, she established her bona fides for a spot on Japan’s 2020 Olympics team in the hotly contested 52-kg category, which also features 18-year-old ace Uta Abe and last year’s world champion Ai Shishime.
“If I had lost in the Asian Games I’d lose a lot of ground to Abe and Shishime, but I could make my presence felt in a big way. I think I managed to cling on” in the race for the national team, she said.
The 23-year-old Kondo, meanwhile, was in tears as she again failed in her bid to win the title at an international competition, after a bronze finish in the Rio Olympics and at the world championships last year.
Compatriot Funa Tonaki claimed the gold at the 2017 worlds and has booked a ticket to the world championships next month.
“I fought with the determination to win a title this year but again I couldn’t. I am always one step away from winning gold medal. I have to think about how to actually win it,” she said.
Despite the loss against Rio bronze medalist Urozboev, it was an improvement for Toru Shishime who could only manage a bronze medal in the previous Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, in 2014.
Even so, he was not satisfied. “I couldn’t perform my judo at all . . . silver is meaningless. Only the gold medal counts.”
In the final and fourth gold medal match, Maruyama was tossed to the mat when Rio silver medalist An executed a seoinage shoulder throw 50 seconds into the match for an ippon.
“I was moving smoothly until the final bout. But I still have a long way to go.. . I was not thoroughly prepared,” said Maruyama, his voice shaking.
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Ádám Stadler (HUN)