Japan, Germany win judo golds

Aug. 12, 2008, 9:50 a.m. (ET)

BEIJING (AP) Athens champion Ayumi Tanimoto redeemed Japan with a second Olympic gold Tuesday on the judo mats, and Ole Bischof won Germany its first gold of the tournament in the men's 81-kilogram division.

Tanimoto, who pinned all of her opponents leading into the final, unleashed the winning throw with 3 minutes, 34 seconds left in the 5-minute final match with France's Lucie Decosse, the European champion, in the women's 63-kg class.

"She was the opponent who I had trained for," Tanimoto said. "I've known her since juniors. She always beats me."

Tanimoto's win was a big one for Japan.

Going into the final rounds on the fourth day of judo, Japan, which won a record eight golds in Athens, had won only one gold medal. The Japanese are hoping to come on stronger in the heavier weights, and Tanimoto gave them a boost.

The bronze medals went to Elisabeth Willeboordse of the Netherlands, who defeated three-time world champion Driulis Gonzalez of Cuba in overtime, and North Korea's Won Ok Im, who came from behind to throw Austria's Claudia Heill for a waza ari.

Judo awards two bronze medals in each weight class.

Tanimoto, who has been an infrequent fighter over the past year, quickly pinned her first opponent, Venezuela's Ysis Barreto, after a bye to meet South Korea's Kong Ja-young in the quarters.

Trailing on penalties after two minutes, the Japanese champion once again used her outstanding work on the mat to pin Kong with 2 minutes, 16 seconds remaining.

For her final berth, she pinned Cuba's Gonzalez. Gonzalez, who is 35 and in her fifth Olympics, won gold in Atlanta and bronze in Athens.

Decosse threw her way into the semifinals, where she met North Korea's Won, who upset Willeboordse. She quickly scored a waza ari and then scored again to end her semi.

After losing the final, Decosse said she plans to move up a weight to see if she can fare better there.

"I'm very disappointed," Decosse said. "Silver is still a medal, but I did not come for that."

Bronze was also a letdown for Willeboordse, who is ranked No. 2 in the world and seen as a top contender for the gold, having won three consecutive tournaments leading up to the games.

In men's, Brazilian world champion Tiago Camilo started off strong, but Bischof stopped him cold.

Camilo opened with a waza ari against Japan's Takashi Ono just over one minute into his first bout and held Ono scoreless to the bell. He took three minutes to throw Iran's Hamed Malek Mohammadi.

But then in the quarterfinal, he fell prey to a waza ari by Bischof, who is ranked No. 9 in world standings, with about three minutes to go. He was toppled by a second waza ari move about a minute later that put him out of the bout.

"It was a hard fight, I had to give it my best," Camilo said.

Bischof then won on points over Ukraine's Roman Gontiuk, and silver medalist Kim Jae-bum of South Korea used an armlock just before overtime ended to defeat 2005 world champion Guillaume Elmont of the Netherlands.

In the final, Bischof went ahead with just over a minute remaining and kept on the attack until time ran out. Kim, exhausted from his earlier bouts, had no strength to resist.

For bronze, Camilo pinned Elmont, and Gontiuk outscored Mongolia's Nyanmkhuu Damdinsuren.

Kim, the Asian champion, fought cautiously in the preliminaries, taking his first bout by points, but then came through with a late ippon to earn his place in the quarterfinals.

His bout with Portugal's Joao Neto also went into overtime, with neither competitor able to capitalize on their throws. Kim won on a match-ending "golden score" and did the same in the semis, sapping his energy before the final.

"The semifinal was extremely grueling," Kim said. "I thought I would recover enough for the finals, but I guess I didn't. Still, there is no excuse. I lost."