China and Japan share final judo golds

Aug. 15, 2008, 8:26 a.m. (ET)

BEIJING (AP) China's Tong Wen won a dramatic come-from-behind victory over Athens champion Maki Tsukada to take the women's heavyweight title and deny Japan a golden double on the final day of the Olympic judo competition Friday.

Satoshi Ishii, making his Olympic debut, defeated Uzbekistan's Abdullo Tangriev to win the men's over 100-kg division to bring Japan's total for the Games to four - half what it got in Athens.

Tong, a three-time world champion, came through with a big throw in the closing seconds to defeat Tsukada for the women's over 78-kg gold.

With the home-country crowd roaring, Tsukada took the lead 2 minutes into the bout with a leg sweep that sent Tong to the mat. Tong, who has beaten Tsukada repeatedly, took a koka point to narrow the gap but appeared cautious and on her way to defeat.

With just 16 seconds left, however, Tong found her opening and threw Tsukada to the mat.

Slovenia's Lucijia Polavder defeated South Korea's Kim Na-young by a point to win bronze. The second bronze went to Cuba's Idalys Ortiz, who flipped Mongolia's Tserenkhand Dorjgotov with a match-ending throw.

Tong breezed into the semifinals, flipping her first opponent and pinning her second and third to make the semifinal, where she struggled against Ortiz. After trading throws that failed to score, Tong marked a point in the final minute and held out to the bell.

Tsukada got off to a slow start, falling behind France's Anne-Sophie Mondiere, who is ranked second in the world, on a koka point, but then coming back with an ippon to clear her first fight.

She pinned Mexico's Vanessa Zambotti for her semifinal berth then went ahead on a penalty by Polavder, who is ranked fifth in the world, and jumped on her for a pin with just over a minute left.

In the final, she was more aggressive, keeping the pressure on Tong with a barrage of sweeps. But Tong had more power, and unleashed it just in time.

"I've been beaten by her before," Tsukada said. "I was thinking that I needed to do my best in this match."

Ishii - winning the second gold for Japan's men and the country's fourth overall - was equally dominant.

Coming out of the shadow of longtime champion Kosei Inoue, he cruised through his preliminary matches, and had his work made easier when French teenage world champion Teddy Riner crashed in the quarterfinals.

A judo sensation since he took the world championship last year at age 18, Riner started off cautiously, winning his opening bout on points. He blasted through his second match, flipping Kazakhstani Yeldos Ikhsangaliyev shortly after the bout began.

But he slowed down again in the quarters, going into the final minute tied with Tangriev. The two then went into overtime, and again neither was able to find an opening.

Tangriev was declared the winner on a penalty against Riner for passivity just before time ran out.

Russian veteran Tamerian Tmenov - who lost to Riner in the world championship final - took an early lead in his first bout over Athens bronze medalist Dennis van der Geest then scored two waza ari on China's Pan Song to make the quarterfinal against Ishii.

But Ishii won that bout on a yuko point. In the semifinal against Georgia's Lasha Gujejiani, Ishii went ahead after four minutes of scoreless sparring and locked the Georgian in a pin as time ran out.

Tangriev also pinned Cuba's Oscar Brayson as the clock ran out to win the other semifinal.

Riner and Brayson took the bronzes.