AKIPRESS.COM - Two-time Olympic gold medalist Masato Uchishiba will coach the men's national judo team of Kyrgyzstan, returning to the judo world more than five years after receiving a lifetime ban in Japan following a rape conviction, sources close to the matter told The Mainichi.
The 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing 66-kilogram gold medalist was expelled for life from the All Japan Judo Federation in 2013 after he was convicted of raping a drunken student in 2011 when he was coaching the women's judo team at Kyushu University of Nursing and Social Welfare. He served jail time after his five-year prison term was finalized in 2014. He has shifted to jujutsu martial art since he was released on parole last November, Japanese sports daily Sports Hochi reported.
Sources said Kyrgyzstan hopes Uchishiba, 40, will provide assistance in developing young athletes ahead of the 2020 and 2024 Games, since its national team has missed the podium in recent years at the Olympics and the world championships.
He is also considering returning to competition if he can acquire Kyrgyzstan nationality. But first, Uchishiba wants to help athletes and coaches in Kyrgyzstan concentrate in their training, according to the sports daily.
"I'm focused on building a foundation that will allow many athletes to fall in love with the sport and continue judo even after I leave the country," he said.