Naohisa Takato won his fourth medal at World Championships since 2013 and his third title. In the final he defeated Russian Robert Mshvidobadze by wazari.
Takato is far from the traditional judoka. He moves different, is multi skilled, was one of the few last year who did a ‘European tour’ on his own. He experimented with another weight category U66kg and went to different training camps on his own and practices his English a bit more.
The number four in the World Ranking secured a very good position now lining up for the 2020 Olympic Games, but in Japan anything can happen. 2016 Olympic champion U73kg Ono is not even selected for these championships. Takato doesn’t mind the closeness and can fight Mshvidobadze ‘Russian style’. He caught the Russian with a fast change of direction with a ko-uchi swept the Russian down to the ground and picked up a wazari within two minutes of the final.
The last two minutes Takato even did his work to manage the match. Despite a penalty he brought the third title home to Japan and made a beautiful respectful bow.
Robert Mshvidobadze was the only Russian left, so not Olympic champion Beslan Mudranov who lost to Karamat Huseynov. Mshvidobadze defeated Lee Ha-Rim of Korea in the quarter final and Amiran Painashvili (GEO) in the semi final. Russia didn’t win a World Championships medal since 2014 U60kg. Nickolay Ozhegin was the only World Champion of Russia in 1995. Mudranov won silver as well in 2014. This can develop into a tight fight between the two towards Tokyo.
Amiran Papinashvili took the bronze medal in a tough fight against Azeri Karamat Huseynov. The second bronze was achieved in a somewhat boring contest between Harim Lee and Ryuju Nagayama, who managed to throw the Korean after four minutes of fighting by an uchimata.