Tokyo Olympics: Naohisa Takato claims Japan's first gold with judo win

Takato beat Taiwan's Yang Yung-wei in the men's 60kg judo final on Saturday.

Naohisa Takato claimed the first gold medal for Japan at Tokyo Olympics after winning the men's 60kg judo final.   -  REUTERS

Naohisa Takato won Japan’s first gold medal at its home Olympics, beating Taiwan's Yang Yung-wei in the men’s 60-kilogram judo final on Saturday night.

Kosovo’s Distria Krasniqi beat Japan’s Funa Tonaki in the women’s 48-kilogram final less than an hour before Takato made sure his team wouldn’t have a double heartbreak on the opening day of competition in its beloved homegrown martial art.

READ MORE: Kosovo's Krasniqi denies Japan's Tonaki, wins judo gold

Takato won his final three bouts in sudden-death golden score, but he took the final a bit anticlimactically after Yang committed too many fouls.

The charismatic Takato’s success — and Tonaki’s heartbreaking, last-minute defeat — could provide a much-needed jolt of excitement for a nation still feeling profoundly ambivalent about these Olympics and discouraged by the scandals and coronavirus setbacks surrounding them.

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