Yawara-chan says she’s retiring from judo

Judo superstar and Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Ryoko Tani said Friday she will retire from judo and pursue her political career to improve the nation’s sports environment.

"I’ve decided to step back from the front line of competition," Tani, 35, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who won her Diet seat in the July 11 Upper House election, told reporters in Tokyo. Party sources revealed that she told a senior DPJ member she couldn’t pursue both careers because of time constraints and other reasons.

Tani, widely known by the nickname Yawara-chan, which comes from the title character of a popular judo manga, won gold in the 48-kg division at the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

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