The Yomiuri Shimbun As consolation prizes go, Hisayoshi Harasawa could have done a lot worse.
Despite failing to defend his title at the All Japan Judo Championship after losing in the semifinals, Harasawa was selected to fill Japan’s spot in the men’s over-100-kilogram division at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Harasawa, 23, was chosen over main rival Ryu Shichinohe, who lost in the other semifinal of the open-weight tournament Friday at Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan.
With the pressure of an Olympic ticket at stake, Harasawa looked like a very different person from the victor at the All Japan weight class championships in early April. He looked sluggish throughout, failed to keep his feet moving and was unable to execute his trademark inner-thigh throw with any effectiveness.
Harasawa, who had been undefeated since winning the All Japan tournament last year, failed to score a single technique-based point in four matches. He had somehow managed to make it to the semifinals, only to lose by a unanimous judges decision to Daiki Kamikawa.
“It’s really pitiful to not give everything at a tournament with the Olympics on the line,” a dejected Harasawa said.
In the end, Harasawa’s streak of championships at his last seven international meets and his 4-0 record against Shichinohe, a two-time world silver medalist, in head-to-head clashes weighed heavily in his favor in the selection for Rio, where he will make his first appearance as a national team member at an Olympics or world championships.Speech