Judo: 2-time Olympic champ Shohei Ono confirms retirement, plans to coach

Shohei Ono. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Two-time Olympic champion Shohei Ono has confirmed he will retire from judo competition, the Japanese Olympic Committee said Friday.

Ono, who won his second straight men’s 73-kilogram gold at the Tokyo Games, plans to pursue a career in coaching.

“My time as an elite athlete is over. I will not compete at future Olympics or world championships,” the All Japan Judo Federation quoted Ono as saying, in a message relayed to the JOC.

The JOC on Friday approved Ono’s application to undertake its overseas training program for sports instructors.

Ono, also a three-time world champion, plans to start a two-year-long program in Britain at a date to be determined.

Dubbed “the world’s strongest judoka” by former Japan coach Kosei Inoue, Ono had been undefeated in individual competition against international opponents since August 2014, other than in matches from which he was forced to withdraw.

The native of western Japan’s Yamaguchi Prefecture hinted at his retirement by skipping the Tokyo Grand Slam in December, leaving him little chance of qualifying for this year’s worlds.