Olympic judo holds draw

Aug. 07, 2008, 9:26 a.m. (ET)

BEIJING (AP) Extra-lightweight world judo champion Ryoko Tani of Japan will begin her bid for a third consecutive Olympic gold medal against Sayaka Matsumoto of the United States.

Tani was pitted against Matsumoto in the opening round in Thursday's draw involving 386 athletes from 92 countries. Tani, who has won seven world championships, is making her fifth Olympic appearance in the under-48 kilogram division and has never finished worse than second.

At the other end of the scales, French world champion Teddy Riner, who at 2.04 meters (6-foot-8) is the tallest competitor in the judo event, will be matched against the 26th-ranked Anis Chedly of Tunisia in the over 100-kilogram heavyweight class.

"There are no good or bad draws," said the 19-year-old Riner, who has become a star in France due to his rapid rise to the top of the judo world over the past two years. "Now, we can start the competition."

The judo competition at the Beijing Games begins Saturday with the extra-lightweight divisions for men and women and concludes with the heavyweight finals on Aug. 15.