Gold for Korea in Men -81kg
The male gold medal was won by Jae-bum Kim in the -81kgs category, which gave Korea their first gold medal and second overall medal of the judo tournament.
In the-81kgs an awesome Travis Stevens (USA) and Ole Bischof (GER) blasted their way to the one side of the Olympic draw to meet in the semi final. Stevens was a man possessed all day, attacking and chasing every contest. In the quarter-final he caused a big upset, when he took out the world number one and top seed Leandro Guilheiro (BRA).
Bischof, the reigning Olympic Champion at the weight, has been in inspired form in 2012, winning the 2012 Paris Grand Slam and 2012 Dusseldorf Grand Prix. From his very first contest Bischof set out his stall to attack, attack, attack and nothing else. He is arguably the best judoka in the world in Newaza at the moment. In all three of his eliminations he won on the ground; the first two were hold-downs and then, most spectacularly, the third a Juji-gatame armlock against Japanese seed Takahiro Nakai.
The semi final between Stevens and Bischof was one of the hardest contests in judo history. Both men threw everything at the fight, attacking relentlessly, and were still doing so as Golden Score came to an end, with still nothing to separate them. This was one of those very rare contests where neither judoka deserves to lose. But in the end one has to, and the decision went unanimously in favour of Bischof.
On the other side of the draw Korea’s double World Champion Jae-bum Kim had battled through some tight preliminary contests before he overcame 2009 World Champion Ivan Nifontov (RUS) in the semi final to set up a final showdown with Bischof. Both judoka wanted it so badly, but Kim had a bit more in the locker. Perhaps the toll of the semi-final prevented Bischof from really chasing the contest like he usually does. Two Yuko scores from Kim was enough to secure him and Korea the title.
As with Bischof, Stevens was shattered from his semi-final encounter and it made all the difference against Antonie Valois-Fortier, who closed the contest out by a single Yuko. Valois-Fortier had put in a remarkable display himself, coming from nowhere and no real results of significance, to put away three medal prospects for the category – Elnur Mammadli (AZE), Euan Burton (GBR) and Srdjan Mrvaljevic (MNE) – before losing to Nifontov in the semi final. As the fight ended both he and Stevens broke down in tears. Both men had been brilliant all day, but unfortunately only one of them would be standing on the podium. The second bronze was taken by Nifontov, who threw Nakai twice for Waza-ari. His medal was Russia’s third in the men’s weights from a potential four. They maintain their position on top of the judo medal table with two golds and Nifontov’s bronze.
Bronze Medal Matches:
Ivan Nifontov heaped greater misery on the Japanese men’s team by destroying Nakai Takahiro JPN in the first of the bronze medal matches. Throwing Nakai twice Nifontov’s bronze brought the Russian men’s team their third medal to date at these Games. Travis Stevens USA faced Antoine Valois-Fortier CAN in the second of the bronze medal matches.
The final between Ole Bischof GER and KIM Jae-Bum KOR was a repeat of the Olympic final in Beijing in 2008. Kim scored twice within the first two minutes with o uchi gari after which he was in total control of the contest. Bischof for his part had been drained in his semi final with Stevens and it must have been desperately disappointing for Bischof to find the tank empty when put his foot to the floor. Kim it was then who took gold and deservedly so. But the sportsmanship, spirit and courage shown by Bischof and Stevens throughout the day was the stuff that inspires.
1. KIM, Jae-Bum (KOR)
2. BISCHOF, Ole (GER)
3. NIFONTOV, Ivan (RUS)
3. VALOIS-FORTIER, Antoine (CAN)
5. NAKAI, Takahiro (JPN)
5. STEVENS, Travis (USA)
7. GUILHEIRO, Leandro (BRA)
7. LUCENTI, Emmanuel (ARG)
WOMEN -63kg: Bronze medals for Ms. UENO, Yoshie (JPN) & JOUNG, Da-Woon (KOR)
There was very little to choose between Ueno Yoshie JPN and Willeboordse NED in the afternoon’s opening repechage contest and it looked as though it would go to golden score. But with only two seconds left on the clock Uneo came up with an o uchi gari kata guruma combination for yuko to bring about a heartbreaking defeat for Willeboordse. In the second repechage contest Gevrise Emane FRA faced Alice Schlesinger ISR. There were no score after five minutes and the pair went into golden score. Emane was able to raise her tempo, Schlesinger eventually being penalized and the contest going to Emane.
The first semi final was an all-Asian match up between Joung Da-Woon KOR and Xu Lili CHN. Joung, tall and rangy, caused Xu several problems with her extreme stance. But the shorter Chinese showed nice movement, good mat awareness and put in plenty of attacks to edge ahead and take the contest on a shido.
Next up was Tsedevsuren Munkhzaya MGL who was up against Urska Zolnir SLO. The Slovenian is known for her strong counters and ura nage and countered a Tsedevsuren uchi mata attack for ippon and take a place in the final with Xu.
Bronze Medal Matches:
The first bronze medal match was between Ueno Yoshie JPN and Tsedevsuren Munkhzaya MGL. Ueno had to call on all of her experience to keep out the Mongolian and she took the contest on a single shido. It was not, however, her most sparkling performance. Emane FRA in turn in found it hard to find her best form in her bronze medal match with Joung Da-Woon KOR. Their match went to golden score with Emane coming out on top and the bronze medal.
The final was between China’s Xu Lili and Urska Zolnir SLO. It was the Slovenian who set the early pace, attacking strongly with her trademark ura nage before scoring with a quick left sided morote seoi nage to score waza ari. Xu was on the defensive thereafter, watchful of the quick fire tempo employed by Zolnir and, despite conceding yuko with ippon seoi nage it was Zolnir who took the gold.
1. ZOLNIR, Urska (SLO)
2. XU, Lili (CHN)
3. EMANE, Gevrise (FRA)
3. UENO, Yoshie (JPN)
5. JOUNG, Da-Woon (KOR)
5. TSEDEVSUREN, Munkhzaya (MGL)
7. SCHLESINGER, Alice (ISR)
7. WILLEBOORDSE, Elisabeth (NED)
IJF Media & Communication Department