Judo coach to step down following scandal

Japanese Judo head coach Haruki Uemura leaves his position after Ryuji Sonoda and staff are accused of physical abuse.

Last Modified: 30 Jul 2013 13:55
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Uemura and four other top officials resigned after coach Ryuji Sonoda and staff were accused of violence [AFP]

The head of Japan's Judo federation, Haruki Uemura, will step down from his post next month amid scandals over alleged physical abuse of female athletes and misuse of funds, the Kyodo news agency reported on Tuesday.

Fifteen current and former members of the women's team had sent a complaint to the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) alleging harassment and violence by head coach Ryuji Sonoda and his staff in the build-up to last year's London Games.

The athletes said they had been slapped, shoved and beaten with bamboo. The coach resigned in January before the JOC cut the judo federation's funding following an investigation.

Uemura, chairman of the All Japan Judo Federation, and four other top officials announced their decision to step down during an extraordinary board meeting, according to the report.

Japan is the birthplace of the martial art but the team suffered one of their worst judo medals hauls in London.

They won one judo gold medal at London 2012, Kaori Matsumoto in the women's under-57kg category.

Japan's fourth place in the judo medals table came as a shock as they were expected to dominate the competition.

They did much better in Beijing 2008, where they won a total of four golds and came top of the medals table.


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