July 29, 2021

By Tetsushi Kajimoto

TOKYO (Reuters) -Japan’s Aaron Wolf and Shori Hamada grabbed gold medals in their respective judo finals on Thursday, taking the host nation’s tally to eight golds from the sport at the Tokyo Games and matching their record haul from Athens 2004.

Wolf, 25, world champion in 2017, threw South Korean Cho Gu-ham to secure a dramatic ippon victory that ended over five minutes of gruelling Golden Score sudden death overtime in the men’s -100kg final.

Wolf, whose mother is Japanese and father is from the United States, beat Uzbekistan’s Mukhammadkarim Khurramov to make it to the quarters, where he overcame Israel’s Peter Paltchik.

In the semi-finals, Wolf beat Georgian Varlam Liparteliani, the world number one and Rio silver medallist, with a dynamic o-uchi-gari throw to score a waza-ari victory.

South Korea’s Cho won silver, while the bronze medals went to Jorge Fonseca of Portugal and Niiaz Iliasov of the Russian Olympic Committee.

In the women’s -78 kg division final, 2018 world champion Hamada defeated French world number one Madeleine Malonga with a quick and solid pin to win the gold medal.

Earlier, Hamada, 30, had pinned Beata Pacut of Poland for an ippon victory in the elimination round of 16, then beat Aleksandra Babintseva of the Russian Olympic Committee via sliding lapel choke to reach the semis.

Hamada, ranked two in her division, beat German Anna Maria Wagner with a cross armlock for an ippon victory in semi-finals.

The bronze medals went to Wagner and Mayra Aguiar of Brazil.

(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Toby Davis)