The martial arts world is mourning the loss of legendary Japanese judo athlete and coach Toshihiko Koga, who passed away on Wednesday at the age of 53.
The news was reported by the Japan Times.
The Kyodo News reports that the cause of Koga’s untimely passing was cancer. The athlete underwent surgery last year after being hospitalized for the disease.
Koga won gold at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona in the 71kg category. Four years later, he placed silver in the Atlanta Olympics in the 78kg division. He also has three World Championship titles to his name. This year, he was scheduled to take part in the torch rally at the Tokyo Olympics, which will take place this Thursday.
Following his retirement from competition, Koga pursued a new path as a coach for the All-Japan women’s judo team. In 2003, he founded his own judo academy for children, the Koga Juku; Ayumi Tanimoto, one of Koga’s students, would go on to win first place at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. In 2007, Koga would take on the responsibility of head coach for the judo team at the International Pacific University.
The Jiu-Jitsu Times extends our deepest condolences to Toshihiko Koga’s loved ones.