Born in Kitashigeyasu, Saga, Japan. On November 21, 1967, Toshihiko Koga is one of the most complete judokas in the history of Judo, 7th dan. He is distinguished by his incredible variety of techniques, many of them invented by him, and currently accepted as movements of what we know today as modern judo.
When we hear a reference to a Seoi-nage and somersault Sode-tsuri-komi-goshi, the first thing that comes to mind is Toshihiko Koga. And, although these techniques are considered brilliant and orthodox, there are others who see them a little predictable but equally unstoppable.
At 50, Toshihiko Koga is recognized for his famous tokui-waza, which is the skill he has with his ippon seoi nage, this is recognized in the judoka community as a sweep, and characterizes Toshihiko Koga as the greatest seen in the history of judo.
Toshihiko Koga started practicing judo at the young age of five years, largely influenced by his father Toshiro and his brother Motohiro, the latter was the one who taught him his tokui-waza, standing on Ippon-seoi-nage. Toshihiko Koga was immediately passionate about judo, anxiously desiring the success that his brother had hitherto achieved, and Motohiro being a demanding brother and a great teacher, helped Toshihiko learn the technique agilely.
Since then, Toshihiko Koga started a great race by defeating his brother at 19 years of age in 1985. It all started when the brothers entered the tournament held at the Kodokan, and they qualified, winning the matches, until they reached the final, where they inevitably had to face. From that encounter Toshihiko emerges unexpectedly victorious, rising above his brother in the duel, thanks to a blow he manages to effect on his brother: Juji-gatame.
After having defeated his brother he began to be noticed in the world of judo, leaving the shadows of Motohiro, he started a great winning streak around the world, starting in Rome, where he won gold in the 1986 World Junior Championship, where he defeated all competitors with Ippon-seoi, after rising in Rome, Toshihiko Koga defeated the American Mike Swain with the same technique, thus obtaining The Kano Cup.
In this last event Toshihiko Koga seriously injures his right elbow, so since then his fighting style has changed. Toshihiko himself ensures what:
"I worked to develop techniques in such a way that they did not put stress on my elbow. Such techniques involved not using conventional grips and approaches ... "
After having to adapt to his new fighting style, his new moves became his trademark, after the Kano Cup Toshihiko Koga was followed by victories like the Kodokan Cup and the Judo Camps, culminating with the Summer Olympics , where he got gold.
Among his achievements we find three world championships, we also find that Toshihiko Koga surprised everyone by registering for the Japan Championship, and even more when he reached the final, thus beating all the Japanese Open judokas, of all the weights, even facing competitors who exceeded Toshihiko's weight by up to fifty kilograms, almost doubling the weight of Toshihiko Koga, approximately 71 kilos.
At the Japan Open, everyone could see Koga's superior tactics, although it was not enough to get the title, as Naoya Ogawa finally defeated him.
Koga lived his best moments at competitive level in Barcelona, where he won his second World Judo Championship, with techniques of what is known as Judo Virtuoso, in this championship he defeated the local favorite Ruiz.
And in the same Barcelona, he won his Olympic champion title the following year, in 1992. These Olympic Games, demonstrated the greatness of Toshihiko Koga, because he won them with a knee injury that prevented him from fighting and walked with much difficulty, just before the first fight he underwent multiple injections in the knee with anti-inflammatory solution, and together with his determination he was able to resist and finally be the winner by beating the Hungarian Bertalan Hajtos.
After the Olympics in Barcelona he retired for a couple of years, and it was not until 1995, when he returned, but this time competing in the category of 78kg, in the nineteenth edition of the World Judo Championship, held in Japan, in the city of Chiba.
The following year, he decided to participate in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, where he could not beat the French competitor Djamel Bouras, who had managed to win the previous year in the World Judo Championship - Chiba, thus escaping his second hands Olympic title, taking home the silver medal.
Toshihiko Koga retires from professional judo in the year 2000, having taken home all possible titles to obtain, recognized internationally. Among them stands out, having been world champion three times, and having held the All-Japan title six times.
Their children, Genki and Hayato, will participate in the Olympic Games of 2020, to be held in the city of Tokyo, capital of where this sport originates. It is expected that Hayato and Genki, follow the legacy of his father in the coming competitions