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Former lightweight World Champion Ami Kondo retires
20 Oct 2020 13:50
Former lightweight World Champion Ami Kondo retires as judoka. Although the Nagoya native captured a 48kg World title at the 2014 world championships in Chelyabinsk and Olympic bronze, the tiny Kondo retires at the age of 25. In Russia she took the world title when she was just 19. Kondo ended up with bronze at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics as well as the 2015 and 2017 world championships in Astana and Budapest.
She was actually senior World champion and took the Junior World Championships even later in 2014 in Miami. She started her career as Cadet World Champion in the Ukraine, the country of the current double World Champion U48kg, Daria Bilodid, who she had never met in an official contest.
Kondo won the Grand Slam of Tokyo four times in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017. She won the World Masters in 2016 in advance of the Rio Olympics. In 2017 she captured the gold at the Grand Slam in Ekaterinburg and took the title at the Paris Grand Slam in 2019.
Kondo reacted: “Now I am on a new path to becoming a childcare worker. It's a waste to end your life with just one dream. I finished with all my strength, and I would like to pursue with all my strength. I will be asked a lot about new goals.”
Kondo will become a nursery teacher and work with young children, ideally combined to teach them judo and the values of judo.
Japanese media said she is about to be known as one who falls short in the clutch. Kondo was hoping to snap a streak of disappointing results in major tournaments. She failed in the competition with Funa Tonaki and abroad she met with South Korea’s Jeong Bo-Kyeong a few times. She had a good record though against Munkhbat Urantsetseg (MGL) and Galbadrakh Otgontsetseg (KAZ) and Kang Yu Jeong (KOR) all Asian opponents.
Kondo has collected numerous medals at international tourneys, including Grand Slam circuit events. But when it comes down to global contests, she has not been able to meet her phenomenal potential.
In the Asian Games final in 2018 against Jeong Bo-Kyeong she was extremely disappointed. For Japanese judoka, anything short of a gold medal is a disappointment.
She had suffered a severe knee injury in February and failed to punch a ticket for the 2018 Worlds Baku and couldn’t manage to sign in a for a spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. At last year’s Grand Slam in Tokyo she lost to Funa Tonaki in the semi and Japan’s new lightweight asset Wakana Koga for bronze. It was Kondo’s last international line-up and announced to retire recently.
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