Tokyo Olympics: Kosovo's Krasniqi denies Japan's Tonaki, wins judo gold

Krasniqi won on a throw with 20 seconds left, scoring a waza-ari and claiming a title that moved her to tears moments later.

Women's 48kg Judo gold medallist Distria Krasniqi of Kosovo during the medal ceremony in Tokyo on Saturday.   -  REUTERS

Distria Krasniqi beat Funa Tonaki in the women's 48-kilogram judo final on Saturday night, depriving Japan of its first gold medal in its home Olympics and winning Kosovo's second-ever medal.

Krasniqi won on a throw with 20 seconds left, scoring a waza-ari and claiming a title that moved her to tears moments later.

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Although Krasniqi was the top seed, she was severely challenged by the 4-foot-10 Tonaki, who beat a series of difficult opponents to reach the final.

Tonaki fell agonizingly short of claiming a gold medal in Japan's beloved, homegrown martial art. Her success would have provided a much-needed jolt of positivity for a nation still feeling profoundly ambivalent about these Olympics and discouraged by the scandals and coronavirus setbacks surrounding them.

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