Defeat forces Filipino-Japanese judoka to contemplate on his career


LONDON—Tomohiko Hoshina is at the crossroads of his judo career.

The Filipino-Japanese reached the fork after losing by ippon (full-point throw) to three-time South Korean tormentor Kim Sung-min in the roaring ruckus at ExCeL North Arena 2 here.

“I have not decided yet whether to continue competing,” said Hoshina,  who earns about $3,500 teaching physical education to secondary students in Fuji City, Shizuoka Prefectiure.

He said his unexpectedly quick exit from the London Olympics—it took Kim Sung-min 1 minute and 5 seconds to send him off—surprised even his Japanese coach.

The 6-foot-3 Korean scored the match-clinching throw at the third attempt to the delight of the boisterous gallery.

“He  was bigger and taller,” the 22-year-old Hoshina said of his South Korean foe, who also beat him in the World Cup in 2011 and the Asian Championships at the United Arab Emirates in 2010. “Very tough opponent.”

The 5-foot-11, 276-pound Hoshina said he is grateful for the chance to represent the country of her mother, the former Vilma Aldaba from Malolos, Bulacan.

“It is always an honor to represent the Philippines,” he said.

In second quickest clash of the 100-kilogram division—Marjan Paskevicius of Lithuania victory over Noreg Fakaifonu of Vanuatu was quicker by a second—Hoshina tried vainly to get a solid grip on Kim, who fought at an arm’s length throughout.

Hoshina finally came to grief after a lapse of concentration, as he stepped  sideways to avoid a hand-lock a full minute into the fight and gave Kim the chance to score the ippon.

Kim went on to reach the quarterfinals after besting Matjaz Ceraj of Slovenia, 2-0, in the second round.

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