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TOKYO - The final day of karate's debut Olympics tournament kicked off on Saturday with the elimination of the fifth Japanese karate-ka, leaving Ryutaro Araga as the last hope for hometown athletes to grab a medal in the "kumite" sparring category.
In the women's +67kg weight class, Ayumi Uekusa went two-for-four in the elimination round to end her appearance at the Tokyo Olympics, for which she had put her plans to quit the sport on hold.
"I wanted to do my part, including for my coach, and become the champion but I failed and I'm so sorry," the 29-year-old told reporters, tears rolling down her cheeks.
"I had thrown so much of myself into these Olympics so right now I can't think about what I will do from here on."
Uekusa had an especially difficult path in the run-up to the Olympics as she came under the media spotlight for blowing the whistle on years of bullying https://cn.reuters.com/article/olympics-2020-karate-idCNL5N2NR06N by a senior member of the Japan Karatedo Federation and his unsanctioned use of a bamboo stick during training that caused her a serious eye injury.
The official was later forced to resign.
The women's semi-finals match-ups will be between Azerbaijan's Iryna Zaretska and China's Gong Li, and Egypt's Feryal Abdelaziz and Kazakhstan's Sofya Berultseva.
Japan's Araga is competing in the men's +75kg category.
In the solo "kata" category, where competitors are scored on defensive and offensive forms against a virtual opponent, Japan took a gold and a silver in the men's and women's events, respectively. REUTERS