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Judoka Takato wins Japan's first gold of Tokyo Olympics

Judoka Naohisa Takato won Japan's first gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday (Jul 24) with victory in the men's 60kg final at the iconic Nippon Budokan.

Judoka Takato wins Japan's first gold of Tokyo Olympics

Naohisa Takato of Japan reacts after performing the winning move against Yeldos Smetov of Kazakhstan in their Tokyo Olympics judo men's 60kg semi-final at the Nippon Budokan on Jul 24, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Hannah Mckay)

TOKYO: Judoka Naohisa Takato won Japan's first gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday (Jul 24) with victory in the men's 60kg final at the iconic Nippon Budokan.

The 28-year-old made up for his disappointing bronze medal in Rio five years ago by getting the host nation up and running in the Games with a win over Taiwan's Yang Yung-wei.

Earlier, Japanese world number three Funa Tonaki had suffered an agonising defeat by Kosovo's Distria Krasniqi in the women's 48kg final.

Her silver, though, was her country's first medal of the Games.

Takato, a three-time world champion, got the better of a tense encounter with Yang, winning 3 minutes and 40 seconds into a golden score.

Yang was called for a third shido (penalty) to give Takato, who lost in the 2016 quarter-finals, victory.

READ: Reign of Japan's 'King Kohei' Uchimura comes to an end at Tokyo Olympics

Japan suffered disappointment elsewhere on the opening day, though, with gymnastics great Kohei Uchimura's campaign coming to an early end.

The two-time all-around champion slipped up in qualifying for the horizontal bar competition, having battled a shoulder injury to be fit for the Games.

World champion Daiya Seto also failed to reach the final of the men's 400m medley in the pool, although he still has two more events to come in which to make amends.

Japan had originally been set a target of 30 gold medals for the home Olympics, but that was dropped after the Games were delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The most golds won by Japan in a single Olympics is 16, achieved in Tokyo in 1964 and Athens 17 years ago.

Catch the Olympics Games Tokyo 2020 LIVE with 14 dedicated channels on meWATCH. Sign in now at mewatch.sg/tokyo2020 and get into the action with Mediacorp, Singapore’s Olympics Network.

Source: AFP/kg

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