Chiba, Japan (Associated Press)-Japan broke its own gold medal record in a single Olympic Games. The host country still has 9 days to play.
The Japanese men defeated Russian fencers 45-36 in the team epee final on Friday, winning the 17th gold medal for Japan in Tokyo. A week has passed since the opening ceremony, and the last medal event was on August 8.
Japan’s previous gold medal record was 16 gold medals in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and the 2004 Athens Olympics. However, since then, the number of Olympic events has increased.
The Japanese team, composed of more than 600 Olympic athletes, is the largest team ever. Nowadays, many of these athletes also have more opportunities to be on the podium in team or mixed events while in individual competitions.
Most of these gold medals-9 out of 17-came from Judo. Since judo player Naohisa Takato became the first host country athlete to reach the podium on Saturday, Japanese martial arts has been a rich source of gold. The 13-year-old skater Westinghouse Momiji is a popular champion, and the swimmer Yui Ohashi exceeded all expectations with two victories.
With the 17th gold medal, Japan defeated the Russian Olympic Committee and became the first Asian country to win the Olympic men’s epee team fencing championship.
Japan was the second and lowest-ranked team in the game, but upset the top-ranked France 45-44 in the quarter-finals. In the final, Kano Gonggui defeated the epee swordsman Sergey Bida 8-3 in the final round to seal the victory. Since Cuba participated in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, no team from outside Europe has reached the podium.
The South Korean team defeated the Chinese team 45-42 to win the bronze medal.
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