The second day of the Cadet World Championships was the best day for Japan with two gold medals. In the boys lightweight U60kg category Japan has a reputation. Naohisa Takato won the gold in the inaugural edition in 2009 in Budapest. Yuma Oshima wo in 2011, Takumi Oshima in 2013 and Genki Koga in 2015. Today it was the day of Keiji Tsujioka.
It is the lightest category among professionals and Japan has always won medals and titles on the World Judo Tour. Tsujioka Keiji had silenced the stands of the enclosure by eliminating Kazakh Nursultan Zaizagaliyev in the semifinals with two waza-ari. In the final he faced the Azeri Kamran Suleymanov. The Japanese had demonstrated the wide range of movements in his arsenal all day. Suleymanov is a judo prty on his own, a fast young man with explosive moves. Both spent the day eliminating opponents at the stroke of ippon.
There was respect, but no fear. Both entered the tatami ready to win, looking for the ippon from the beginning. There was a lot of ne-waza but, in the end, the Japanese surprised Azeri with a waza-ari and added the second gold medal of the day for Japan.
We were able to talk to him after the final. Tsujioka confirmed what we thought: “It was the toughest match of the day because it was the first time that I participated in an international competition, with only one tatami in the final and crowded stands. I was nervous.” Which shows that, at the highest level, the difference is always produced by each one's mental strength.
Kyrgyzstan Chyngyzkhan was one waza-ari down against Azerbaijan Turan Bayramov when, a few seconds before the end, he scored ippon and secured the first medal for his country here in Almaty.
The second bronze medal was a local derby between Marlen Adil and Nursultan Zaizagaliyev. Zaizagaliyev scored waza-ari first and, it seemed he would win because he was dominating. However, he had two shidos against him and, one minute before the end, he was eliminated for getting out of the mat.