Gold for France and for Korea
Women -70kg and Men -90kg
Lucie Decosse has put herself in the record books as one of the greatest judoka of all time, while Korea won their second gold medal through Dae-nam Song to move joint top of the judo medal table alongside Russia. With its 200 national federation members, 135 participating countries here in London and 22 countries awarded so far, Judo continues to prove its universality.
Decosse, the triple World Champion, who so dramatically lost the 2008 Beijing Olympic -63kg final, laid to rest her demons, taking the -70kg gold medal in spectacular style and becoming Olympic Champion. Decosse was tense throughout the day, only showing glimpses of her formidable best and clear dominance of the category. It was clear she was not going to repeat the mistake that cost her so dearly in the 2008 final. In this final Decosse picked her moments perfectly, throwing Thiele for Waza-ari and Yuko. She also held Thiele down, but the German dramatically escaped with one second to go. It didn’t matter though. As the contest progressed her lead increased, as did her confidence. Decosse eased through the last minute, holding Thiele comfortably at bay and booking her place in the record books.
“Since 2001 I have had great results,” said Decosse, “because I won the Paris Tournament, the European Championships and the World Championships several times.”
“I don’t know if it’s better to win the Olympics at the beginning or the end of your career, but this has been my path since 2001.”
The bronze medals of the -70kgs were won by Yuri Alvear of Colombia and Edith Bosch of the Netherlands, who took their first country’s first medals of the judo.
The -90kgs category was hard to comprehend, with all four top seeds crashing out in the preliminaries. Ilias Iliadis had been widely tipped to not just win the Olympic Games, but to win it in style. But Iliadis never showed the attacking judo that is so familiar to everyone and ended up losing a tight quarter final to Kirill Denisov (RUS). Iliadis, like almost every world number one at the Olympics, was cagey and cautious. It is quite clear that when it comes to the Olympics the judo event is almost like another sport. The pressure is enormous, as is the expectation, on the stars of world judo. Out of ten world number ones so far only Decosse and Kaori Matsumoto (JPN) in the -57kgs have taken gold.
Perhaps one of other reasons is that when it comes to the Olympics the number ones have dozens of other fighters to worry about. They have to train to fight every other competitor in their category. However, as world number one, they are the target of the chasing pack. And that chasing pack will focus a lot of their attention on how to beat the world number one.
This was the case for second seed Masaashi Nishiyama, the second seed. One of the big reasons he was selected over the higher ranked Daiki Nishiyama is because he has trained to beat and has beaten Iliadis. Nishiyama, however, was also unable to get through his preliminary contests, crashing out to Dae-nam Song (KOR) in the last eight. The same went for the number three and four seeds – Dilshod Choriev (UZB) and Varlam Liparteliani (GEO). Liparteliani did not even make the last eight. Choriev did, but there he went down to Brazil’s Tiago Camilo.
Iliadis, meanwhile, thrived once the pressure was off him. Fighting in the repechage final he produced one of the throws of the tournament, but then as soon as an Olympic medal was back on the line he closed up against Tiago Camilo (BRA) in the bronze medal contest, doing just enough to take the bronze medal. His medal for Greece meant that 22 countries have medalled so far in the judo, three short of the 25 from Beijing, and with two days remaining. Nishiyama also battled through the repechage to take the other bronze, beating a devastated Denisov for the other bronze. But it was Song, at the age of 33, that powered through the -90kgs category, taking out four of the eight seeds, including Nishiyama in the last eight, Camilo in the semi-finals and Cuba’s Asley Gonzalez in the final.
Gonzalez himself had been brilliant himself, producing a beautiful drop Tai-otoshi in the semi final against Denisov. He managed to take the final to Golden Score, but was then caught with a stunning Kouchi-gari for Ippon.
“In life there are uphills and downhills,” said Song. “There are winners and losers. When you win it is important not to get complacent.
“When you lose you mustn’t be disappointed or frustrated. Set clear goals and stick to them.”
ROUND BY ROUND
WOMEN -70kg: “IT’S WHAT I CAME HERE FOR” SAYS FRANCE’S GOLDEN GIRL
For Lucie Decosse the last four years have been almost entirely dedicated to winning gold in London. “I felt a tremendous relief over the past three days as my goal approached, quite the opposite from the pressure that is normal in such situations. For that reason I came here today, comfortable and relaxed with my single goal within reach. I’ve been determined for so long that this spilled over into my judo and I was much more aggressive than in Beijing four years ago. Now that I’ve got the gold I may think about retirement. I’ll let you know.”
Maria Portela BRA was thrown with te waza for waza ari then ashi guruma for ippon by Yuri Alvear COL.
Natalia Smal UKR was thrown for waza ari with seoi otoshi by Cecilia Blanco ESP. Hwang Ye-Sul KOR threw Erica Barbieri ITA. Sally Conway GBR threw Ngarlemdana Carrie CHA with ko uchi gake for waza ari then held her with mune gatame. Kerstin Thiele GER defeated Moira De Villagers NZL by shadow. Chen Fei CHN defeated Katarzyna Klys POL
Lucie Decosse FRA threw Kelita Zupancic CAN for ippon with ko soto gake. Yuri Alvear COL strangled Antonia Moreira ANG with sangakujime. Rasa Sraka SLO threw Cecilia Blanco ESP with o soto gari for ippon. Hwang Ye-Sul KOR defeated Juliane Robra SUI. Edith Bosch NED threw Sally Conway GBR for waza ari with uchi mata. Meszaros Anett HUN lost by hantei to Kerstin Thiele GER. Tachimoto Haruka JPN Onix Cortes Aldama CUB went into golden score where Tachimoto won on hantei. Chen Fei CHN scored ippon on Houda Miled TUN
Lucie Decosse FRA threw Yuri Alvear COL for ippon with uchi mata after only ten seconds. Hwang Ye-Sul KOR Rasa Sraka SLO went into golden score where Hwang eventually threw Sraka with a huge o goshi for ippon. Edith Bosch NED was thrown for waza ari with ippon seoi nage by Kerstin Thiele GER Tachimoto Haruka JPN threw Chen Fei CHN with harai goshi then o soto gari for yuko. Chen came back strongly with an o goshi for yuko and then a second yuko with the same technique to tie things up and take the contest into golden score, Chen Fei taking the contest on a hantei.
Yuri Alvear COL threw Rasa Sraka SLO for ippon with makikomi
Edith Bosch NED defeated Tachimoto Haruka JPN by shido
Lucie Decosse FRA defeated Hwang Ye-Sul KOR by shido in golden score
Kerstin Thiele GER defeated Chen Fei CHN by hantei
Bronze Medal Matches
Yuri Alvear COL drew Chen Fei CHN into making two errors both of which resulted in the Chinese being thrown with makikomi, first for yuko then for waza ari to give the Colombian a bronze medal.
Edith Bosch NED faced Hwang Ye-Sul KOR the Korean scoring yuko with 28 seconds left to go. But Bosch dashed Hwang’s hopes by coming back with a sasae tsuri komi ashi 12 seconds from the end. The match went into golden score where neither player could come up with a match ending technique. It was Bosch who won it on a hantei to take her third Olympic medal.
Lucie Decosse FRA threw Kerstin Thiele GER for waza ari with o uchi gari. It was the same technique that Decosse had attempted on Ayumi Tanimoto in the Olympic final in Beijing where she was countered for ippon. But Thiele was unable to either block or counter the effort and this proved to be the winning score
DECOSSE, Lucie (FRA) vs. THIELE, Kerstin (GER)
Bronze Medal Fights
ALVEAR, Yuri (COL) vs. CHEN, Fei (CHN)
BOSCH, Edith (NED) vs. HWANG, Ye-Sul (KOR)
DECOSSE, Lucie (FRA) vs. HWANG, Ye-Sul (KOR)
THIELE, Kerstin (GER) vs. CHEN, Fei (CHN)
ALVEAR, Yuri (COL) vs. SRAKA, Rasa (SLO)
BOSCH, Edith (NED) vs. TACHIMOTO, Haruka (JPN)
1. DECOSSE, Lucie (FRA)
2. THIELE, Kerstin (GER)
3. ALVEAR, Yuri (COL)
3. BOSCH, Edith (NED)
5. CHEN, Fei (CHN)
5. HWANG, Ye-Sul (KOR)
7. SRAKA, Rasa (SLO)
7. TACHIMOTO, Haruka (JPN)
ROUND BY ROUND
MEN -90kg: UNSEEDED SONG HITS ALL THE RIGHT NOTES
Outsider Song Dae-Nam took the -90kg category with a fine display of all round judo skills. On a day when none of the top four seeds could make it past the quarter final stage it was left to South Korean to show his varied throwing skills. “I came here hoping to win a medal, any medal to be honest. But I’m delighted that it all came right for me today and to win my country’s second gold. I’m 33 years old now so with this win I’ll be calling it a day now.”
Ilias Iliadis GRE began his campaign for a second Olympic medal with a first round win scoring waza ari with koshi guruma against Milan Randl SVK. “I knew that it would be a tough match” said the Slovakian. “I’d beaten him in the past when I’d been able to fight more aggressively, attacking more. But today I did not manage to repeat this” added Randl. Next came Karolis Bauza LTU who threw Romain Buffet FRA for waza ari with te guruma. Russia’s Kiril Denisov RUS looks fit and well prepared in throwing Ivan Remarenco MDA with tai otoshi for ippon. Alexandre Emond CAN may be forgiven for being slightly overwhelmed by the reception given by the expectant crowd to Winston Gordon GBR. The Londoner threw Emond with a huge harai goshi for ippon giving the home fans something to cheer for. Emond said “I feel pretty bad. It’s not what I expected. I came here with hope. The crowd didn’t affect me; I was in the zone.” Varlam Liperteliani GEO fought a very a surprisingly strong Dieudonne Dolassem CMR, the Georgian finding it difficult to break his man down and winning on the back of three penalties. Asley Gonzalez CUB threw Hector Campos ARG for ippon with morote seoi nage. Kone Knappeya Romeo CIV was thrown for ippon with yoko otoshi by Dimitri Gerasimenko SRB. Nishiyama Masashi JPN threw beautifully with ko uchi gari for waza ari to eliminate Chingiz Mamedov KGZ. Hesham Besbah EGY was disappointing in being thrown for ippon with te guruma by Timur Bolat KAZ. Elkhan Mamedov AZE defeated Cristophe Lambert GER by shido. Song Dae-Nam KOR armlocked Juan Romero URU. Dilshod Choriev UZB defeated Marcus Nyman SWE. Tiago Camilo BRA threw Roman Gontiuk UKR with left tai otoshi for ippon. The last match of the opening round went into golden score where Roberto Meloni ITA overcame Parviz Sobirov TJK.
Ilias Iliadis GRE looked less than convincing in his defeat of Karolis Bauza LTU. Kiril Denisov RUS threw Winston Gordon GBR for yuko with uchi mata to bring the Briton’s brave effort to an end. Varlam Liperteliani GEO began his second round match strongly throwing Australia’s Mark Anthony for yuko seoi nage. The Australian then countered a Liperteliani attack with ura nage for waza ari to cause a shock in the category and knock out the No. 4 seed. Asley Gonzales CUB defeated Dimitri Gerasimenko SRB whilst Nishiyama Masashi JPN progressed to the quarter final by throwing Timur Bolat KAZ for yuko with sasae tsuri komi ashi. Elkhan Mamadov AZE was thrown for waza ari with seoi nage by Song Dae-Nam. Dilshod Choriev UZB threw Madarasz Tamas HUN for ippon with ko soto gake leaving Tiago Camilo BRA to close out the round by throwing Roberto Meloni ITA with o soto gari for ippon.
Number one seed Ilias Iliadis GRE was upset by Russia’s Kirill Denisov who threw the Greek for 2 yuko first with harai goshi and then with yoko sutemi waza. Mark Anthony’s AUS was defeated by Asley Gonzalez CUB. Japanese hopes for a first male gold medal ended when Nishiyama Masashi was thrown first for yuko then for waza ari with morote seoi nage by Song Dae-Nam KOR. Nishiyama scored waza ari with o soto gari but could not pull the match back. Dilshod Choriev UZB was defeated by Tiago Camilo BRA bringing the quarter finals to a close.
Fighting in the repechage was not what Ilias iliadis GRE had come to London for. But Iliadis gave us a flash of brilliant best when he threw Mark Anthony AUS for ippon with sode tsuri komi goshi to put him in a bronze medal match. Nishiyama Masashi JPN faced Dilshod Choriev UZB in the second repechage contest. The match went into golden score, both fighters having received penalties. It was Nishiyama who won the contest by hantei.
Kirill Denisov RUS was seeking to add to Russia’s medal tally but against Cuban Asley Gonzalez he came ustuck when, with just 22 seconds left, Gonzalez put in a lightning fast tai otoshi throwing the Russian for ippon. Song Dae-Nam KOR began his semi final sharply by throwing Tiago Camilo BRA with ippon seoi nage for waza ari. The Korean remained strong throughout the contest and Camilo was unable to close the gap.
Bronze Medal Matches
Ilias Iliadis GRE faced the Olympic bronze medalist from Beijing Tiago Camilo BRA in the first of the bronze medal matches. The Brazilian looked slightly under par and was unable to generate any real scoring opportunities picking up a shido along the way. This was all that separated the pair in the end and Iliadis had his second Olympic medal. “I worked for four years hoping that I would win the gold medal. I won a large number of tournaments during this period. But today when I really needed to be at my best it just didn’t happen” said Iliadis. Nishiyama Masashi JPN faced Kirill Denisov RUS. The match went into golden score where Nishiyama won by hantei.
Asley Gonzalez CUB faced Song Dae-Nam KOR. The match went into golden score where after only ten seconds Song threw the Cuban with a superb ko uchi gake for ippon.
GONZALEZ, Asley (CUB) vs. SONG, Dae-Nam (KOR)
Bronze Medal Fights
ILIADIS, Ilias (GRE) vs. CAMILO, Tiago (BRA)
NISHIYAMA, Masashi (JPN) vs. DENISOV, Kirill (RUS)
DENISOV, Kirill (RUS) vs. GONZALEZ, Asley (CUB)
SONG, Dae-Nam (KOR) vs. CAMILO, Tiago (BRA)
ILIADIS, Ilias (GRE) vs. ANTHONY, Mark (AUS)
NISHIYAMA, Masashi (JPN) vs. CHORIEV, Dilshod (UZB)
1. SONG, Dae-Nam (KOR)
2. GONZALEZ, Asley (CUB)
3. ILIADIS, Ilias (GRE)
3. NISHIYAMA, Masashi (JPN)
5. CAMILO, Tiago (BRA)
5. DENISOV, Kirill (RUS)
7. ANTHONY, Mark (AUS)
7. CHORIEV, Dilshod (UZB)
IJF Media & Communication Department
Nicolas Messner & Gabriel Stanescu
Danny Hicks & Sheldon Franco-Rooks
Photos Tamas Zahonyi and Gabiela Sabau