Kosuke Mashiyama claims gold among big names U90kg
Lasha Bekauri went back to the city where he won the Olympic gold last year. Picking up the gold this time in the men’s U0-kg category at the Grand Slam in Tokyo was not scripted in this edition.
The months have passed and even if Bekauri is not in the same insolent shape that he displayed in 2021, he has taken on a new dimension with his beautiful gold back number. At only 22 years old, Bekauri has his whole life ahead of him and still many years to harvest other major titles on the circuit. From the morning, even with a little shortness of breath, he showed diligence and precision to score. Walking and replacing himself slowly, it was the explosion of his attacks that always surprised and all his opponents in the morning paid the price.
Even an Olympic champion though, has his limits, and Lasha Bekauri showed them in the semi-final. After more than five minutes of golden score, totally out of breath, he had to bow out to Kosuke Mashiyama (JPN), who was constantly attacking and forced Bekauri to be penalised a third time for hansoku-make.
To face Mashiyama was Eduard Trippel (GER), who definitely has a special connection with Japan. A bit more than a year ago, he reached the final of the Olympic Games against all odds. Again this year in Tokyo and after perfect preliminary rounds, Trippel entered the final of the grand slam.
True to his habit, it was a smiley Trippel who stepped on to the tatami. Not that he was not concentrated, it was just his own way to get into the match but the concentration was not enough against Kosuke Mashiyama (JPN), who executed a perfect shoulder throw for ippon. Eduard Trippel can still smile because he had a fantastic day but the Japanese Armada was unstoppable with six gold medals from six weight categories.
Contest between Olympic Champions for bronze
To have an idea of the level of the competition in that weight division, the first bronze medal match opposed two Olympic champions: the current one, Lasha Bekauri and the 2016 Rio Olympic champion, Mashu Baker (JPN). Maybe Baker was not totally accustomed to the new rules as he was penalised three times, the last one for breaking the grip without keeping control of the kumi-kata. Bekauri could again enjoy a nice medal in Tokyo. Not the gold this time, but still a great achievement.
The second bronze medal contest saw Shoichiro Mukai (JPN) and Sanshiro Murao (JPN) facing off for a spot on the podium, with the victory going to Murao with a left handed ko-uchi-gari for a clear ippon.