WATCH: Judo star can’t escape passing out in submissions in Tokyo

Russian judoka Madina Taimazova has suffered a troubling pattern of being choked unconscious during major tournaments in Tokyo over the past two years.

Her troubles began at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics when she faced eventual champion Chizuru Arai in the semifinals. Arai caught Taimazova in a near-waza (stranglehold) that left her lying motionless on the mat before she recovered and went on to win a bronze medal.

Taimazova returned to Japan for the 2023 Tokyo Grand Slam determined to exorcise her demons. But she again wound up locked in a death grip – this time applied by Romania’s Serafima Moscalu in the bronze medal bout. Video shows Taimazova grimacing in pain before succumbing to the choke, her limp body crashing hard onto the padding. This time, the consequences were dire as she had to be stretchered off in distress.

The 31-year old is recovering but will no doubt be haunted by her trips to the Japanese capital. Despite her Judo prowess, Taimazova seems cursed by the submission whenever she steps onto the tatami in Tokyo. She must be wondering if it’s worth risking her health to compete there ever again. For now, it’s sayonara to Tokyo as Taimazova hopes breathing easy back home in Russia will help erase the painful memories.