Tanimoto keeps Japan in range of judo gold

Aug. 12, 2008, 3:38 a.m. (ET)

BEIJING (AP) Athens gold medalist Ayumi Tanimoto overpowered her opponents to give Japan a chance to redeem itself on the judo mats Tuesday, while Brazilian world champion Tiago Camilot fell to a major upset.

Camilo was the big surprise of the day in the men's 81-kilogram class, though he started off strong.

He 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.

In the quarterfinal, he fell prey to a waza ari by Germany's Ole 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.

"I'm in incredible form," an elated Bischof said. "I came here with very open expectations. You can lose to anybody at the Olympics."

European champion Joao Neto of Portugal also blasted out with ippon wins early on to get into the quarterfinals with a minimum of energy.

He then took on Kim Jae-bum, who is the Asian champion but is making his Olympic debut. Kim 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 Neto went into overtime, with neither competitor able to capitalize on their throws. Kim won on a match-ending "golden score."

In the semis, Ukraine's Roman Gontiuk will meet Bischof, and Kim fights 2005 world champion Guillaume Elmont of the Netherlands.

In the women's 63-kg, Tanimoto, who has been an infrequent fighter over the past year, quickly pinned her first opponent, Venezuela's Ysis Barreto, 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 matwork to pin Kong with 2 minutes, 16 seconds remaining in the five-minute match.

Lucie Decosse of France, the European champion, threw her way into the semifinals, where she will meet North Korea's Won Ok Im, who upset Elisabeth Willeboordse of the Netherlands.

Willeboordse, ranked No. 2 in the world, was seen as a top contender, having won three consecutive tournaments leading up to the games.

Three-time world champion Driulis Gonzalez of Cuba, fighting for her fifth Olympic medal, narrowly inched past Austria's Claudia Heill to get into the quarterfinals. Gonzalez, who is 35 and a mother, won gold in Atlanta and bronze in Athens.

She defeated Wang Chin-fang of Taiwan for her place in the final four against Tanimoto.

Going into the final rounds on the fourth day of judo, Japan had won only one gold medal.