Robert Tanaka eliminated in first round; Liana Mutia next up for USA Judo
by Cecil Bleiker
Competition in visually impaired Judo got underway at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games on Friday, August 27th at the historic Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, Japan. Robert Tanaka (Denver, Colo./Los Angeles, Calif./ Ju Shin Kan, Denver Judo and Sawtelle Judo /University of Southern California) kicked things off as the first Team USA member to take the mat. Tanaka faced Viktor Rudenko of the Russian Paralympic Committee falling by Ippon.
“It was a disappointing result,” said Tanaka following his match. “I felt like I started the match decently, I felt like I had control in the standing part of it. I got two good shots off, but couldn’t finish them. Then he caught me on the ground. He’s a very strong player. It was unfortunate, but it’s still a great honor to be here. It (the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games) has been an incredible experience. Of course Japan is the birthplace of my sport and I’m Japanese-American, so there’s those cultural roots. Being here representing both my last name — Tanaka is Japanese — but I also wear USA on my back, so really those two identities define who I am. The fact that I’m here and able to compete in Judo in Japan — that was really good motivation for me to get here and since being here Japan has been fantastic.”
Next up for USA Judo, Maria Liana Mutia (Chicago, Ill./Colorado Springs, Colo./Tohkon, El Toro Judo and Black Ice Judo/Colorado State University) will take on Hiroko Kudo of the host country Japan in the women’s -63kg division on Saturday, August 28. Mutia’s first match will be the sixth match on Mat #2. The first session of the day scheduled from 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. local time in Tokyo, Japan (7:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. on August 27th Mountain Daylight Time) with competition in the Men’s -73kg, Men’s -81kg, Women’s -57kg and Women’s -63kg divisions from elimination through repechage stages. The medal round is scheduled from 4:00 p.m. – 6:40 p.m. local time in Tokyo, Japan (1:00 a.m. - 3:40 p.m. on August 28th Mountain Daylight Time). For USA viewers please check the latest schedule on NBCOlympics.com for streaming and viewing options for each match.
Katie Davis (2012 U.S. Paralympian, Sacramento, Calif./over 70kg female) and 2016 U.S. Paralympian Ben Goodrich (St. Paul, Minn./Colorado Springs, Colo./CSOPTC Judo Club/University of Minnesota/under 100kg male) round out USA Judo’s Tokyo 2020 U.S. Paralympic Team will both compete on Sunday, August 29th, the final day of visually impaired judo at the Tokyo 2020ne Paralympic Games. The team is coached by Heidi Moore and her husband Stephen Scott Moore a three-time Paralympic medalist ((2000 Gold, 1996 Bronze and 2004 Bronze) whom together run the Denver Judo Club in Denver, Colo. USA Judo member Marc Vink (Riverton, N.J.) is also in Tokyo serving as Team Leader.
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic visually impaired judo tournament is taking place August 27-29, 2021 in the historic Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, Japan, the host venue of the first ever Olympic Judo competition in 1964 and most recently the Tokyo 2020ne Olympic Games competition in July. (Judo Paralympic Schedule)
-63kg; Maria Liana Mutia (Chicago, Ill./Colorado Springs, Colo./Tohkon, El Toro Judo and Black Ice Judo/Colorado State University)
+70kg; Katie Davis (Sacramento, Calif.)
-66kg; Robert Tanaka (Denver, Colo./Los Angeles, Calif./ Ju Shin Kan, Denver Judo and Sawtelle Judo /University of Southern California)
-100kg; Ben Goodrich (St. Paul, Minn./Colorado Springs, Colo./CSOPTC Judo Club/University of Minnesota)
Heidi Moore (Denver, Colo./Denver Judo)
Stephen Scott Moore (Denver, Colo./Denver Judo)
Marc Vink (Riverton, N.J.)
For more information, please contact Cecil Bleiker, USA Judo Communications Specialist at +1-719-330-2062. This press release is also available on the USA Judo website at https://www.teamusa.org/USA-Judo.