BUDAPEST (Kyodo) -- Japan's Soichi Hashimoto won the men's 73-kilogram gold medal at judo's world championships on Wednesday, when fellow worlds debutant Tsukasa Yoshida settled for silver.
In his final, Hashimoto defeated Azerbaijan's Rustam Orujov, the silver medalist at last year's Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Hashimoto claimed a yusei victory after scoring a wazaari during extra time.
Japan has now won five gold medals from the six weight-class competitions held through the first three days of the event.
"I finally became the world champion," Hashimoto said. "I was about to lose hope several times, but I told myself 'I will be the world champion for sure' during the match."
"I think there will be a lot of pressure, but I want to savor that as I compete."
"I want to aim to beat (2016 Rio champ Shohei) Ono and win the Tokyo Olympics. I'm finally at the starting line, and I can do more."
Japan men's head coach Kosei Inoue said Hashimoto competed "persistently" and became a rising star in Japan's 73-kg division.
"Hashimoto was tense from the beginning due to the pressure, but he sealed all of his matches by fighting persistently," Inoue said. "Another powerful athlete has appeared in the 73-kg division following (the Olympics) last year."
Yoshida, ranked second in the world, fell in the women's 57kg final to Rio silver medalist and world No. 1 Sumiya Dorjsuren of Mongolia, who clinched the extra-time victory on a decision by the judges.
"I was not in the best form, I entered the match determined to win. But my weaknesses were exposed (in extra time)," Yoshida said.
"It was my fault that I couldn't throw my opponent. It showed my limitations."
The 21-year-old Yoshida advanced to the final after an ippon victory over world No. 3 Helene Receveaux of France.
Hashimoto, the top-ranked judoka in his division, defeated Georgia's Lasha Shavdatuashvili, a Rio Olympics bronze medalist in this division and the 2012 Olympic 66kg champion, on shido penalties. The 26-year-old Hashimoto then won his semifinal against Azerbaijan's Hidayat Heydarov, the 2017 European champion, by ippon.