ABE Uta wins gold for host nation in Olympic debut in women’s judo 52kg

Japan’s ABE Uta weeps with joy after beating France’s Amandine Buchard in women’s judo 52kg at Tokyo 2020 at the Nippon Budokan.

Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Two-time world judo champion ABE Uta wept after winning gold for the host nation after defeating France’s Amandine Buchard in the women’s 52kg final at Tokyo 2020 on 25 July.

The 21-year-old, who was making her Olympic debut, had a tough battle to claim victory against European champion Buchard at the Nippon Budokan.

The Japanese judoka won after the bout went to a golden score as neither had shown dominance until Abe claimed an ippon. The two opponents embraced at the end of the long battle.

An emotional Abe said later: "It really hasn’t sunk in yet, but the feeling of having won a gold medal is starting to swell inside me. I don’t know, maybe it may not have been appropriate but I couldn’t hold myself back.

"The emotion, the joy just exploded. The road to get here, parts of it seemed long and others short. I managed to get to where I am standing today because of the support of so many people. Gratitude, that is what I’m feeling."

It really hasn’t sunk in yet, but the feeling of having won a gold medal is starting to swell inside me.

I don’t know, maybe it may not have been appropriate but I couldn’t hold myself back. The emotion, the joy just exploded.

It is Japan’s third medal in judo at the Games and second gold, with compatriot TAKATO Naohisa winning the men’s 60kg and TONAKI Funa taking silver in women’s 48kg.

The biggest upset of Day 2 in judo came when Hungary’s Réka Pupp, 25, took out reigning Olympic champion Kosovo’s Majlinda Kelmendi in the first round.

Pupp was later beaten in one of the bronze medal bouts by Rio 2016 silver medallist Odette Giuffrida, 26, from Italy. The second bronze went to Great Britain’s Chelsie Giles, 24, who claimed victory over Switzerland’s Fabienne Kocher, 28.

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