Uta Abe named world’s top female judoka for 2nd year in row

Olympic champion Uta Abe was named the International Judo Federation’s female judoka of the year for the second year running Sunday after continuing her dominance of the women’s 52-kilogram division.

The 23-year-old, who has not lost in IJF competition since 2019, went back-to-back as both world champion and Tokyo Grand Slam winner last year. Her world title victory in Doha in May was the fourth of her career.

Uta and older brother Hifumi, the reigning men’s 66-kg Olympic and world champion, earned early selection for this summer’s Paris Games, where they will once again be gold-medal favorites.

“I’m very happy. I want to fight with all my might at the 2024 Paris Olympics,” Uta said in a video message played at the award ceremony in Paris.

Georgia’s Tato Grigalashvili, the men’s 81-kg world champion, was named the top male judoka for the second straight year, while the rising star award went to 19-year-old Dota Arai from Japan, the men’s 100-kg junior world champion.