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Ryuju Nagayama, the only member of the Japanese team at the Abu Dhabi World Championships 2024, has set his sights on becoming a world champion at the upcoming Paris Olympic Games. The 28-year-old has already won two world bronze medals and was considered the favorite to win gold in the -60kg category.

However, Nagayama faced a tough opponent in his opening match against Ayub Bliev (AIN), an individual neutral athlete competing in his first senior world championships. Despite Bliev’s impressive track record, with three grand slam medals in just seven months, including gold in March, Nagayama had defeated him before during their Tokyo Grand Slam 2023 semi-final match with a waza-ari score using uchi-mata.

In Abu Dhabi, however, Bliev was determined to take revenge. He put up a relentless attack using a strong grip on Nagayama’s sleeve and back in both standing and ground techniques. Nagayama tried to counter with his own moves but found that Bliev’s stamina was superior. In a tense moment during golden score, Bliev managed to sidestep Nagayama’s tired attempt of uchi-mata and scored a waza-ari with uchi-mata-sukashi. Bliev emerged victorious with a well-deserved win while Nagayama left feeling disappointed but determined to work towards his goal of becoming a world champion.

The competition at Abu Dhabi was intense as 24 of the top 30 ranked athletes were present on day one. Nagayama’s unexpected exit served as a reminder that anything can happen in world championships and highlighted the challenge of living up to one’s ranking in such prestigious events. As the championships continue, fans can expect more surprises and thrilling matches from this talented athlete who is determined to become a world champion.

In conclusion, Ryuju Nagayama is an accomplished judoka who has won multiple medals at international competitions. However, he faced tough opposition from Ayub Bliev (AIN) in his opening match at the Abu Dhabi World Championships 2024. Despite being considered the favorite to win gold, Bliev emerged victorious over Nagayama after a grueling match that lasted for golden score.

As we look forward to watching more matches at this year’s Paris Olympics Games, it will be interesting to see how Nagayama fares against other talented athletes from around the world. With two bronze medals already under his belt and determination coursing through his veins, he is sure to give it everything he has got when he steps onto the mat once again.

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