Akira Sone showed age is no barrier as the 18-year-old proved the star attraction for a Japan team that comfortably topped the medal table with seven gold medals at the year-ending Guangzhou Masters.
Arguably facing one of the greatest heavyweights of all time in Cuba’s Idalys Ortiz — a former Olympic gold medalist and two-time world champion — teenager Sone proved undaunted.
The 18-year-old continually pressured world silver medalist Ortiz, the Cuban eventually given three shido penalties, which saw Sone crowned the winner as Japan swept the board to win every women’s weight category.
Sone was the aggressor from the outset, forcing a rattled Ortiz, who trains against men to prepare herself for competitions, to concede those trio of shido penalties and, with that, the title.
Following her first major title on the World Judo Tour, Sone, who became a national champion as a 17-year-old, said: “Ortiz is a very tactical judoka. So, I knew that I couldn’t fall into her trap, so I just tried to stay one step ahead of her throughout.” Read more