Japan’s famous brother-and-sister act eye more Olympic judo gold

Three years after the Tokyo Olympics, Japan’s Hifumi Abe and his sister Uta want to go for gold again in Paris 2024 Olympics.

Athletes hold coins to camera.
Hifumi Abe (R), poses with his sister and fellow Olympic judo gold medallist Uta Abe, as they hold commemorative 2024 Paris Olympic coins [JIJI Press via AFP]

Japan’s brother-and-sister Olympic judo champions Hifumi and Uta Abe say they are spurring each other in their bid to defend their titles at this year’s Paris Games.

The siblings won individual golds within an hour of each other at the pandemic-postponed Tokyo Olympics in 2021, and they are likely to be a force to be reckoned with again in Paris.

Both are four-time world champions, and Hifumi Abe told reporters in Tokyo on Tuesday that he does not want to be outdone by his younger sister this summer.

“I know we are both working hard and we share the same target – that fact alone helps me,” said the 26-year-old.

“When I see her working hard and putting in the effort, it gives me strength and makes me think that I have to work hard too.”

Hifumi beat Georgia’s Vazha Margvelashvili to win the men’s under-66kg Olympic title in Tokyo shortly after Uta claimed the women’s under-52kg gold beating France’s Amandine Buchard.

Judo wrestlers on mat.
Japan’s Hifumi Abe (white) competes with Georgia’s Vazha Margvelashvili during their judo men’s 66kg final bout at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games [File: Jack Guez/AFP]

The siblings will again compete on the same day in Paris, and Uta said they will keep an eye on each other’s matches.

“If we both progress through the tournament then that helps support each other,” said the 23-year-old.

“The most important thing is to keep winning so that we can both reach the final and win.”

The Abe siblings followed up their Olympic success by winning world titles in their respective weight classes in 2022 and 2023.

Hifumi said competing at an Olympics away from home for the first time is likely to be his biggest challenge.

“There will be a time difference, so I have to make sure I prepare myself right to be in good shape,” he said.

“With the judo side of it, as long as I prepare myself as I normally do, I’m confident there is no way I will lose.”

Female athlete holds Olympic medal.
Uta Abe celebrates winning the women’s gold medal in the 52kg category during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games [File: Mandi Wright/USA TODAY Sports]
Source: News Agencies