Japan won both the men's and women's team titles at the IJF Junior World Championships ©IJF

Japan ended the International Judo Federation (IJF) Junior World Championships in style as they defended both their men’s and women’s team titles on the final day of the event in Abu Dhabi.

The Japanese men were in fine form as they swept aside Georgia with a commanding 5-0 success, while the women dropped just one bout on their way to a 4-1 triumph over France.

The results ensured Japan retained their crowns they claimed at the 2014 competition in Fort Lauderdale, bringing this year’s Junior World Championships to an emphatic close.

Japan’s men’s team did not have it all their own way, though,  as they fought back from the brink of defeat to Uzbekistan in the semi-finals, where they trailed 2-1 and were one bout away from exiting the competition.

Their comeback victory set up a repeat of the 2014 gold medal clash with Georgia and Masaya Asari got Japan off to the best possible start as he beat Tornike Nagliashvili in the under 66 kilograms division.

Yuji Yamamoto then doubled the Japanese advantage with a win over Tamaz Kirakozashvili at under 73kg by virtue of accruing less shido penalties, before their success was sealed by Sotaro Fujiwara, who proved too strong for Levan Gugava in their under 81kg clash to clinch the title for his nation.

Shoichiro Mukai then made it four wins from four by beating  Giorgi Gvelesiani in their under 90kg bout and over 100kg judoka Genta Tanaka recovered from the disappointment of individual silver to complete the rout in style, throwing Levan Gugava for ippon to secure a thumping 5-0 victory.

Russia thrashed Egypt 4-1 in the first bronze medal match, with Ukraine claiming the other available podium place with a narrow 3-2 win against Uzbekistan.

Remi Aoyagi sealed the title for Japan by beating Marina Olarte
Remi Aoyagi sealed the title for Japan by beating Marina Olarte ©IJF

The Japanese women also reigned supreme in commanding fashion as reigning under 52kg cadet world champion Kana Tomizawa beat Gwenaelle Patin, but the French hit back in the next bout thanks to under 57kg individual bronze medallist Sarah Harachi’s victory over world champion Haruka Funakubo.

It proved to be a fleeting moment of joy for the French, though,  as Japan went on to win the next three contests to secure their second consecutive title.

Nami Nabekura put the Japanese side 2-1 ahead with a battling win against Clemence Eme at under 63kg, before Remi Aoyagi ensured her country would be leaving Abu Dhabi with the team crown as she beat Marina Olarte in their under 70kg bout.

The scoreline was then given the resounding feel the Japanese display clearly merited as over 70kg competitor Wakaba Tomita holding off the challenge of Morgane Duchene in the final contest of the women’s event.

The Netherlands and Germany took home bronze with victories over South Korea and Kazakhstan respectively.

Genta Tanaka secured the 5-0 victory for Japan by winning the final bout of the competition ©IJF
Genta Tanaka secured the 5-0 victory for Japan by winning the final bout of the competition ©IJF

The finale of the event in Abu Dhabi comes the day before the IJF hold their annual World Judo Day, which carries a theme of “Unity”.

“I want to congratulate the international judo community for this fifth edition of the World Judo Day, which this year has the theme of unity,” IJF President Marius Vizer said.

“This is an important value of our sport. It is associated with other values such as honour, respect and friendship.

“Through the promotion of our moral code we can show that judo unites the people from all over the world and by doing so we can contribute to the development of a better society and to peace.”

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