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Visually impaired couple to represent Japan in Rio Paralympic judo

Junko Hirose, 25, left, who will compete in the women's 57-kilogram judo division, and her husband Haruka, 36, who will compete in the men's 90-kilogram judo division. (Mainichi)

Six visually impaired judo players -- including one couple -- were informally named to Japan's Rio 2016 Paralympic team after qualifying trials at the Kodokan Judo Institute in Tokyo on May 4.

    The pair are Junko Hirose, 25, in the women's 57-kilogram division, and her husband Haruka Hirose, 36, in the men's 90-kilogram division -- both of whom are sponsored by Marubeni-Itochu Steel Inc.

    "I want to take this opportunity, while attention is focused on us, to make an impact," said Haruka, while Junko noted with excitement, "I hope we become stronger together."

    The rules for visually impaired judo are virtually the same as those for regular judo, though the judo player can be guided into position at the start of matches.

    Dominating the men's 66-kilogram division was Satoshi Fujimoto, 40, who works at a school to support those with visual and hearing disabilities in Tokushima Prefecture. He last competed in the Paralympics at Beijing 2008.

    In the men's over 100-kilogram division, London 2012 Paralympic gold medalist Kento Masaki, 28, was informally selected to go to the Rio Games after his opponent withdrew from the May 4 qualifying match.

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