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Rising Judo Star Shines in World Championships: "Hope for Rio"

By August 30, 2015 at 6:03 am
Takanori Nagase.
Takanori Nagase.(Photo : All Japan Judo Federation)

Judo is of course Japan's specialty but not quite so in heavier divisions lately. Now, we have a rising star in 81kg division who has just dominated that division in the ongoing World Judo Championships Astana 2015. 

Takanori Nagase, 21, overwhelmed Pietri Loic of France in 81-kg final by Ippon. This division is most competitive of all divisions and has always been Japan's sore spot. 76 judomen competed in 81kg division  this time. Nagase beamed when he said "It's great to have proven that Japanese can win this division". 

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Back in May, in Japan's Kodokan, the Mecca of Judo, a judo seminar was held inviting children from all over Japan with four male instructors handpicked to teach the children. Nagase was one of them.

More children flocked to the classes teaching Seoinage, Uchimata and other such fancy throws. Nagase was assigned to teach less fancy throw "Ouchigari" and a small group of children surrounded him for instruction. Young and shy as he was, Nagase told children that Ouchigari is a plain throw but effective both in linking and finishing. "So, be sure to train it well", he advised.

His Ouchigari won him a gold medal. In the quarterfinal, Nagase's Ouchigari checked the opponent's advance and in the final match Nagase's initial charge with Ouchigari decided the course of the match. The opponent, Pietri Loic of France, was overly conscious of his Ouchigari and kept rounding his back and gave

Nagase a last-minute chance to hold him down for a win.
Nagase hails from Nagasaki and gained most of his judo skills at his high school in Nagasaki. At Tukuba University he stood out as the "Hope for Rio". 

Nagase's agility and willowy litheness shine in today's power-dominated World Judo, hence the "Hope for Rio".

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