A 19-year old Japanese university student has won his country's top award in judo. Yasuhiro?
A 19-year old Japanese university student has won his country's top award in judo. Yasuhiro Yamashite became national champion when he defeated Sumio Endo who's held the title for the past five years.
SYNOPSIS: Before going into the final bout, the two men ??? to win their respective semi-finals. For Endo, number ?even, it was an encounter with Kazuhiro Ninomiya, number 13. Ninomiya, a 30-year old policeman and the taller of the two, is a Montreal gold medallist in the light heavyweight division. But here in the All-Japan championships there were no weight divisions.
36 competitors took part in the contest for the national title, including three Montreal gold medallists. Endo, who's also a policeman, and 26-years old was outright favourite to win his seventh national title and the sixth in six years. After this bout, only Yamashita stood between him and the title.
A capacity crowd of 150,000 watched the final in Tokyo's Martial Arts Hall. By now Yamashita, number 27, had defeated the most experienced judoist in the tournament, Chonosuke Takaki, holder of the sixth dan black belt.
Yamashita won the heavyweight title in the 1976 International Judo Championships in Paris. Perhaps the decisive factor was when Yamashita, a fourth dan black belt, managed to throw Endo cleanly.
Yamashita was unable to repeat that clean throw. Endo is a fifth dan black belt but on the day it was Yamashita who was the more aggressive of the two -- and Yamashita who was declared the winner at the end of the ten minute bout.
The win was unexpected but ??? of the crowd clearly thought Yamashita deserved his victory.