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Paris white wedding for Japan judo star

PARIS, Dec 11 (AFP) – Japanese judo queen Ryoko Tamura on Thursday fulfilled her dream of a white wedding in Paris when she tied the knot with professional baseball star Yoshitomo Tani in the French capital.

The duo, who had a civil ceremony in Japan earlier this month, had an intimate Christian ceremony at the American Church in Paris, surrounded by just their immediate family.

Tamura, 28, and Tani, 30, an outfielder at the Japanese Pacific League Orix BlueWave, had registered their marriage at the city office in Nishinomiya, near Kobe, on December 1 after a two-and-a-half year courtship.

But the bride had always wanted to be married in the world’s most romantic city, and the pair arrived at the church on the left bank of the Seine River in a long stretch limousine awaited by a throng of Japanese media and well-wishers.

Tamura said she had wanted to get married at the church, near the famed Eiffel Tower, as she had been training in the area in recent years.

“When we arrived in Paris it was even more beautiful than I remembered it with all the Christmas lights,” said Tamura. “We won’t have time to visit a lot of France and will have to come back.”

Defying the chilly weather the bride wore a traditional halter neck white wedding gown encrusted with pearls, precious stones and white roses which she designed herself. A diamond tiara topped off her eight-foot (2.44m) train.

“She always looks great in her judo outfit but today she looked magnificent,” said Tani.

The music Ave Maria was played during the ceremony, which was performed by Dr. Tina Blair, and afterwards the pair held a reception in the chic George V hotel off the Champs Elysees.

They will honeymoon by visiting Europe with Italy on their programme.

The newly-weds are also scheduled to celebrate the event when they arrive back in Japan with a USD 2.6 million reception in Tokyo on December 20. Both Tamura and Tani are chasing gold medals at next year’s Athens Olympics.

And Tamura, the Sydney Olympics bantamweight champion, who won a record-stretching sixth straight world judo title in September, said it would be back to work next month.

The 146-centimeter (4ft 10in) specialist of seoinage, a classic shoulder throw, skips the prestigious women’s judo tournament in her hometown of Fukuoka because it clashed with her wedding schedule.

But she warned: “From January 1 it’s going to be back to work for me and I’m going to give everything to win that gold medal in Athens.”

Tani, who played a key role in Japan’s success in the Asian Olympic baseball qualifying round, said that his aim was to get selected for the national team.

 © AFP

                                                                Subject: France news