Takato Naohisa has the honour of being Japan’s first gold medallist at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 after winning by ippon over YANG Yung Wei of Chinese Taipei in the judo men’s -60kg contest.
Takato was also the bronze medallist in the same event at Rio 2016.
“For the past five years, I’ve been living as a bronze medallist,” he told reporters ahead of competing at Tokyo 2020. “I felt that there was a gap between myself and the gold medallist.
“In Tokyo, I want to win a gold medal no matter what.”
Takato’s disappointment from five years ago, where he was a medal favourite, has been a driving force for the three-time world champion.
His ippon victory came off the back of multiple shido infractions by Yang.
The win was also Japan’s first gold medal in the weight class since NOMURA Tadahiro at Athens 2004.
Speaking immediately after his win, the 28-year-old with tears in his eyes said: “I think this result was achieved with the support of everyone. I’m really glad that I was able to achieve this result because I’ve been causing so much trouble for my coaches.”
“I am glad to have achieved this result. I wasn’t able to win boldly, but this is my judo. Thank you very much for your support.”
As for Yang, the 23-year-old was Chinese Taipei’s first medallist of these Olympic Games and the nation’s first ever medallist in Olympic Judo.
“It means a great deal to me,” he told reporters in a press conference. “I actually was aiming for the gold medal so I’m not fully satisfied with the result. I’m still young so I will definitely aim higher.”
Kazakhstan’s Yeldos Smetov took bronze after beating Tornike Tsjakadoea of the Netherlands while France clinched their first medal of Tokyo 2020 through Luka Mkheidze in the other bronze medal contest with an emotional golden score win over KIM Won Jin from the Republic of Korea.