Japanese judoka Baker takes gold in men’s middleweight division

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Japan completed its double in the middleweight judo competitions Wednesday, with Mashu Baker defeating Georgia’s Varlam Liparteliani in the gold medal match of the men’s (90 kg) competition.

Baker, who was born in Tokyo and whose father is American, entered the competition ranked second in the world in the 90 kg weight class. His gold medal is the first for Japan in the men’s middleweight division since 1976, and he joins female judoka Haruka Tachimoto as the winners of the middleweight divisions in these Olympics.

Gwak Dong-Han of South Korea and Cheng Xunzhao of China won the bronze medal matches, with Gwak arriving at the Olympics as the world’s top-ranked judoka in the 90 kg weight class. Baker defeated Cheng by ippon in the semifinal round to reach the gold medal match, with Gwak falling to Liparteliani in the other semifinal. With Baker’s victory, Japan has now won nine medals in judo in Rio.

American Colton Brown, who lost to France’s Alexandre Iddir in the Round of 16, finished the competition tied for ninth.