In the Abe family, sister Uta and brother Hifumi are well known in Japan and while they are obviously not opponents on the tatami mats, their healthy rivalry could bring them to Olympic glory on the same day, Sunday.
In the legendary Nippon Budokan, it is Uta, double world champion, who will open hostilities in the under 52 kg category.
Hifumi, also double world champion, will continue with the less than 66 kg.
And who knows if they would have this same individual career without this family emulation.
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We encourage each other all the time.
And even if we don't talk about it directly, we can feel it without using words
We encourage each other all the time. And even if we don't talk about it directly, we can feel it without using words,
”Uta explained recently. Privilege of the eldest, it was Hifumi who first stepped on the tatami mats, he was 6 years old and it was not long before his 3-year-old younger sister joined him. Judo was not obvious to them, however, their father Koji, a firefighter by trade, seeing them rather play the piano. But little Uta was determined, especially as she quickly showed a few predispositions. Some even predicted him more future than his brother with the kimono, even if the two regularly dominated their opponents in the youth categories.
With the seniors, it was the same.
In 2017, Hifumi won her first world title.
The following year he did it again, joined by his sister for a golden double in Baku.
My goal in Baku, more than winning a second consecutive title, was for us both to win, brother and sister,
” Hifumi explained at the time of this double coronation.
When my sister won, I then got on the tatami for the final even more motivated,
” he added at the time.
Unfortunately for them, at the 2019 Worlds, Hifumi had to settle for the bronze medal leaving her sister alone at the top of the world hierarchy.
Hifumi Abe qualified for Games after 24-minute fight
Now it is at the Olympics and in their country that they want to achieve this double, even if Uta seems to have gained the upper hand over his brother in terms of potential, he who owes his Olympic qualification to an incredible 24-minute play-off against world champion Joshiro Maruyama last December. And after being in her brother's shadow, Uta is now the shining one. She had 48 consecutive wins against non-Japanese opponents on the tatami mats. But she does not forget the importance of her brother. “
I couldn't have done all of this without my older brother. I don't even know if I could have started judo without him.
The two are now focused on their double Olympic dream: to be crowned on the same day. And to show their common ambition, Hifumi posted a very clear New Year's message on social media: "
In 2021, we will win two gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics as a brother and sister