Indomitable Clarisse Agbegnenou crowned judo World champion for fifth time

The 28-year-old has become the second-most-decorated French judoka ever and will now head to Tokyo 2020 in hunt for her first Olympic gold.

By Chloe Merrell
Picture by 2019 Getty Images

World Judo no. 1 Clarisse Agbegnenou continues to tighten her unyielding grip on the women’s -63kg division after she defeated Slovenia's Andreja Leski by ippon to win gold at the IJF World Judo Championships in Budapest, Hungary, on Wednesday (9 June).

It was a tightly fought contest but the force of Agbegnenou's left arm made things exceptionally difficult for the Slovenian.

At the third minute mark the defending world champion threw Leski to the floor for a wazari. The referee disputed the length of the initial 10 second hold forcing Agbegnenou to quickly respond by rolling back into the grip and holding Leski down for definite 10.

The 28-year-old advanced to the final earlier in the day after besting Sanne Vermeer of the Netherlands via ippon in a hard-fought fight at the semi-final stage.

Agbegnenou is now well on her way to becoming one of judo's greatest ever athletes. With a fifth title under her belt the Frenchwoman moves into fourth position for number of world titles won. In front of her are other titans of the sport including: Ryoko Tani (seven), Wen Tong (seven) and Ingrid Berghmans (six).

Additionally, the gold medallist's success also sees her make strides in her own country's listings. She moves ahead of David Douillet to become the second most decorated French judoka of all time behind Teddy Riner.

With Olympic qualification already secured, the five-time European champion, Agbegnenou can now sharpen her focus on Tokyo 2020, in 2021.

The Olympic gold medal is the one accolade that has so far eluded the already heavily decorated judoka. Agbegnenou suffered great heartbreak at Rio 2016 after she was forced to settle for silver.

The -63kg Judo Olympic competition will take place on Tuesday 27 July at the Nippon Budokan.

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