Japan's London judo gold medal drought over
Tue, 31 Jul 2012 5:55a.m.
Japanese judo fans can breathe a sigh of relief: after three days of competition, the country that invented the sport has finally won a gold medal at the London Olympics.
Fighting in the women's 57-kilogram division, Kaori Matsumoto defeated Romanian Caprioriu in the final, using footwork to gain an advantage and eventually throw the Romanian for the win.
The 57K bronze medals were won by American Marti Malloy and Automne Pavia of France.
Malloy's father, Marty, watched his daughter win from the stands, where he was wearing a T-shirt with "Malloy" emblazoned on it, designed like a judo uniform.
"All I can ever remember about my daughter is her going to judo tournaments since she was six," he said. Malloy wasn't sure how he would reward his daughter but said there would definitely be celebrations later.
"First I'm going to have a beer in her honour," he said.
Earlier Monday in the men's 73-kilogram division, Russian Mansur Isaev took gold over Japan's Riki Nakaya. Nakaya is the current world champion and had been a favourite to win the division.
It was a close-fought final that saw both Isaev and Nakaya attempting to pin each other to the ground. Isaev was eventually able to throw Nakaya off balance before holding him down for the win. After sitting on Nakaya's chest, Isaev got up, held his arms out sideways in what appeared to be a bit of showboating for the Russian fans.
It is Russia's second gold judo medal of the London Games. Arsen Galstyan won gold, the country's first judo gold since the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Isaev, 25, came seventh at the world championships last year. Earlier in the day, he also triumphed over world No. 1 Wang Ki-chun of South Korea in the semifinals.
The bronze medals were won by Nyam-Ochir Sainjargal of Mongolia and Ugo Legrand of France.
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