Gold for USA and for Russia
Women -78kg and Men -100kg
One of the most amazing days in judo history came to a dramatic conclusion when Vladimir Putin embraced Tagir Khaibulaev, his fellow countryman, who had just taken the gold medal at -100kgs and continued Russia’s incredible run of good form in the men’s competition. Russia now have three gold medals and a bronze from a potential six in the male weight categories. It is simply remarkable the turnaround in fortune of the Russian team, who in Beijing did not win a single medal. Here in London they find themselves top of the medal table in the judo.
Mr. Putin, who is a big judo fan, attended the final block alongside British Prime Minister David Cameron. Mr Cameron also found himself in the unique position of congratulating Gemma Gibbons, who had just won a silver medal for the host country, Great Britain. Gibbons’ medal lifted the roof of the ExCel arena, who were witnessing the first British judo medal at an Olympic Games since Kate Howey took a silver in Sydney 2000. She put on a great judo display all day, taking out two of the seeded fighters, including 2011 World Champion and world number three Audrey Tcheumeo in a classic semi-final tie. A brilliant hip throw in Golden Score, which scored Ippon, was one of the highlights of the entire tournament.
However, in the final she succumbed to Kayla Harrison, who won the first ever gold medal for the USA in judo. Harrison had a steely look in her eyes from her very first contest and ruthlessly dispatched her first opponent within a minute, before throwing the seeded Abigel Joo for Ippon. Most spectacular was her semi-final, where she devastated the world number one Mayra Aguiar (BRA) with a Juji-gatame armlock. In the final Harrison always looked favourite for the title, and she never gave Gibbons an inch, always beating the Brit to the attack. Two Yuko scores were enough to secure her the gold medal and make history for her homeland.
Both Aguiar and Tcheumeo won their bronze medal contests with two big throws, to add to the medal tallies for Brazil and France. But the country that everyone is talking about is Russia, who now look set to hold onto top spot in the judo medal table.
Khaibulaev produced a wonderful drop Seoi-nage in the final against Tuvshinbayar Naidan of Mongolia, who was defending his Olympic crown from Beijing. Whereas three of the top four seeds made it to the semi-finals of the -78kgs, three of four seeds in the -100kgs couldn’t even make it out of the preliminaries. Number one Maxim Rakov (KAZ) was knocked out in his first contest. The number two, Henk Grol (NED), who had a huge Dutch following, lost his quarter final. And the third seed, Takamasa Anai (JPN), was pinned for Ippon in his second contest.
Only Grol out of the three made it through to the repechage final and put himself in with a chance of fighting for bronze, which he did, beating Hee-Tae Hwang (KOR). The second bronze was won by Dimitri Peters, who took Germany’s third medal of the judo competition.
ROUND BY ROUND
WOMEN -78kg: LONDONER GIBBONS DELIVERS SPARKLING PERFORMANCE WITH SILVER LINING
Gemma Gibbons GBR may have had to settle for silver here today but her efforts in even reaching the medal podium will be widely seen as a major success in itself. The magnitude of the result is remarkable given that Gibbons only began competing in the -78kg a little over two months ago. To add even greater significance to a truly remarkable achievement Gibbons, en route to today’s final, faced the world champions from 2009 and 2011. The final itself saw Gibbons facing yet another world champion, this time from 2010, in the shape of Kayla Harrison USA. The exhilarating performances that had brought the British fans to their feet in a packed Excel Arena earlier in the day continued in the final where Gibbons, though never out of touch of the American, was never really threatening. “Of course I’m happy with my silver medal. But I’m just as pleased to have given the crowd a British medal to cheer for; they were absolutely fantastic”, said Gibbons.
The day began with number two seed Ogata Akiri JPN taking on the oft underrated Jeong Gyeong-Mi KOR. But the Korean proved to be up to the task taking Ogata the distance, the Japanese winning by a single penalty. Gemma Gibbons GBR then threw Yahima Ramirez POR for ippon with left uchi mata raisng the level of expectancy and excitement of the home fans in the crowd. Audrey Tcheumeo FRA threw Amy Cotton FRA for yuko with de ashi barai. Anamari Velensek SLO was thrown by Daria Pogorzelec POL for yuko with ippon seoi nage. Odette Ntahonvukiye BDI was thrown with tai otoshi for waza ari then held with mune gatame by Audrey Koumba GAB to bring the first round to a close.
Ogata Akiri JPN made a quick start in her second round match throwing Marhinde Verkerk NED for yuko. The Dutch woman came back with her own yuko throwing Ogata with ko uchi gake to level the scores. Ogata then went ahead with another yuko score but was finally thrown by Verkerk for waza ari with morote seoi nage putting out the Japanese player out of the competition. Purevjargal Lkhamdegd MGL was next to face the British fighter and was thrown for two yuko by Gemma Gibbons GBR. Mayra Aguiar BRA threw Hana Mareghni TUN for waza ari with a low left sided tai otoshi. Heide Wollert GER was thrown first for waza ari with de ashi barai then left seoi nage for waza ari awasete ippon by Daria Pogorzelec POL. Audrey Tcheumeo FRA threw Maryna Pryschepa UKR for ippon with o soto gari. Kayla Harrison USA applied jujigatame to defeat Vera Moskalyuk RUS. Yang Xiuli CHN threw Aung Aye Aye MYA for ippon with ko uchi gari. Joo Abigel HUN threw Audrey Koumba GAB for ippon with o uchi gari
Gemma Gibbons GBR faced an extremely tough task against Marhinde Verkerk NED and with 10 seconds left on the clock threw the Dutch woman for waza ari with o uchi gari. Mayra Aguiar BRA threw Daria Pogorzelec POL for waza ari with o soto gari and then held her opponent with kuzurekesagatame. Kayla Harrison USA was thrown by Joo Abigel HUN for waza ari with uchi mata. The American came back strongly however throwing the Hungarian first with seoi nage for yuko then seoi otoshi for ippon. Audrey Tcheumeo FRA threw Yang Xiuli CHN for waza ari with sumi gaeshi.
Daria Pogorzelec POL faced Joo Abigel HUN the latter clearly suffering from a knee injury sustained in an earlier contest with the American Kayla Harrison. Pogorzelec scored yuko with seoi otoshi as Joo struggled to compete on what was in effect one leg. Joo’s bravery was awarded however when, having been warned for passivity, she launched an uchi mata attack that sent Pogorzelec hurtling through the air and crashing to the mat for ippon. Marhinde Verkerk’s NED contest with current Olympic champion Yang Xiuli CHN went into golden score. Both fighters showed plenty of effort but without being able to put a score on the board. The hantei went to Verkerk and with it too the hopes of a second Olympic medal for Yang.
Semi Final Contests
Mayra Aguiar BRA and Kayla Harrison USA promised to be a fascinating battle. Harrison was the more assertive in the early part of the contest but it was not until the final minute that the American managed to come up with an o goshi/ko uchi gari combination for yuko. With time running out the fighters went to newaza where Aquir submitted to Harrison’s finely worked jujigatame. Gemma Gibbons GBR and Audrey Tcheumeo entered the area to thunderous applause from a packed and excited audience. After a grueling five minutes in which both fighters pushed hard for a score the contest went into golden score. The pattern of the contest remained the same until Gibbons stepped over a weak attack from Tcheumeo and threw the world champion powerfully for ippon with harai goshi to take her place in the final.
Bronze Medal Contests
Joo Abigel HUN came out for her contest with Audrey Tcheumeo still hampered by her knee injury. Nevertheless, the Hungarian gave a super effort only to be thrown for ippon by Tcheumeo with an ashi waza with a little over a minute left on the clock. Mayra Aguiar BRA threw Marhinde Verkerk NED for ippon with ko soto gari
Kayla Harrison USA threw Gemma Gibbons GBR twice for yuko with o goshi
HARRISON, Kayla (USA) vs. GIBBONS, Gemma (GBR)
Bronze Medal Fights
JOO, Abigel (HUN) vs. TCHEUMEO, Audrey (FRA)
VERKERK, Marhinde (NED) vs. AGUIAR, Mayra (BRA)
AGUIAR, Mayra (BRA) vs. HARRISON, Kayla (USA)
GIBBONS, Gemma (GBR) vs. TCHEUMEO, Audrey (FRA)
POGORZELEC, Daria (POL) vs. JOO, Abigel (HUN)
VERKERK, Marhinde (NED) vs. YANG, Xiuli (CHN)
1. HARRISON, Kayla (USA)
2. GIBBONS, Gemma (GBR)
3. AGUIAR, Mayra (BRA)
3. TCHEUMEO, Audrey (FRA)
5. JOO, Abigel (HUN)
5. VERKERK, Marhinde (NED)
7. POGORZELEC, Daria (POL)
7. YANG, Xiuli (CHN)
ROUND BY ROUND
MEN -100kg: VICTORIOUS KHAIBULAEV SPARKS PUTIN CELEBRATION
Tagir Khaibulaev RUS took the opportunity of the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin at London’s Excel Arena to take gold and put Russia at the top of the judo medal table. When in the final Khaibulaev threw the reigning Olympic champion for ippon the Russian President leapt to his feet raising both hands in the air in salute of Russia’s third gold medal winner in judo at these Games. Khaibulaev said “Up to the finals I was concentrating as much as possible because the fights were extremely hard. I’m very proud to have won in front of my President because he is knowledgeable in judo. I was aware that Naidan was injured, so for this reason I expected the fight to be less difficult than has been the case with him in the past.” Sitting alongside President Putin was British Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague the latter a keen judo practitioner. They were not the only VIPs to be attracted to today’s event. Both HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Earl of Wessex dropped in to savor the atmosphere.
It’s been a tricky time for number one seeds at these Games and so it proved for Maxim Rakov KAZ who was thrown with sode tsuri komi goshi for yuko by Elmar Gasimov AZE. Rakov was unable to pull the score back and he ended up joining the list of numbers ones making early exits. Henk Grol NED had a comfortable win against Dominic Dugasse SEY throwing him for ippon with te guruma. Oumar Kone MLI lost to Luciano Correa BRA the Brazilian holding him with kuzure yoko shio gatame. Ariel Zeevi ISR will be bitterly disappointed in having been armlocked with relative ease by Dimitri Peters GER. Jevgenijs Borodavoko LAT threw Anthony Liu ASA for ippon with harai goshi. There was a rather labored win for Anai Takamasa JPN who defeated James Austin GBR by shido. Tagir Khaibulaev RUS held Elco van der Geest BEL with kuzure kesagatame. Yauhen Biadulin BLR threw Cristian Schmidt ARG for ippon with makikomi. Daniel Brata ROU was defeated by Levan Zhorzholiani GEO losing by three shido. Hwang He-Tae KOR threw Amel Mekic BIH for yuko with morote seoi nage. Daniel Kelly AUS was defeated by Artem Bloshenko UKR. Naidan Tuvinshinbayar MGL threw Teerawat Homklin THA for yuko with morote seoi nage then applied sangakujime for ippon. Thierry Fabre FRA Ramadan Darwish EGY the match went into golden score where Fabre won by shido Ramziddin Sayidov UZB threw Kyle Vashkulat USA for ippon with o soto gari.
Henk Grol NED eased past Luciano Correa BRA. Dimitri Peters GER Jevgenijs Borodavko LAT the match went into golden score where after 15 seconds Peters scored yuko with morote seoi nage. Anai Takamasa JPN was held by Lukas Krpalek with kuzure yokoshiogatame. “I had lost to Anai three times before. But I really believed this time. In the past I’d not fought well in tachi waza. Perhaps he had not done his homework on me, because I caught preety well in newaza” said Krpalek. Levan Zhorzholiani GEO lost to Elmar Gazimov AZE by shadow. Hwang He-Tae KOR threw Artem Bloshenko UKR for ippon with morote seoi nage. Tagir Khaibulaev RUS threw Yauhen Biadulin BLR for waza ari with seoi nage. Naidan Tuvshinbayar MGL held Thierry Fabre FRA with kamishiogatame. Ramziddin Sayidov UZB threw Oreydi Despaigne CUB for yuko with makikomi. Sayidov was then countered for waza ari with te waza before Despaigne inexplicably appeared to bite Sayidov’s finger resulting in the Cuban being awarded hansokumake.
Elmar Gasimov AZE was thrown by Hwang He-Tae KOR for yuko with sode tsuri komi goshi. Henk Grol NED was thrown by Dimitri Peters GER for waza ari with te waza. Lukas Krpalek CZE threw Tagir Khaibulaev RUS for yuko with ko uchi gari. But with only 40 seconds left was turned over in newaza where the Russian held him with ushirokesagatame. “I’m very disappointed that in a split second so many years of training came to nothing.” Naidan Tuvshibayar MGL Ramziddin Sayidov UZB the match went into golden score where after only 15 seconds the Olympic champion absolutely leveled Sayidov with a brilliant morote seoi nage scoring ippon.
Elmar Gasimov AZE was thrown by Ramziddin Sayidov UZB for ippon with ippon seoi nage.
Henk Grol NED countered Lukas Krpalek CZE for yuko then threw the Czech fighter for ippon with uchi mata.
Semi Final Contests
Hwang He-Tae KOR was countered by Naidan Tuvshinbayar MGL for yuko which was the only score sending the Mongolian into his second Olympic final. Dimitri Peters GER Tagir Khaibulaev RUS the contest went into golden score where the Russian was awarded the contest on hantei.
Bronze Medal Contest
Ramziddin Sayidov UZB threw Dimitri Peters GER for yuko with sode tsuri komi goshi. But Peters came up with a terrific de ashi barai for waza ari and followed it up with yokoshiogatame to take a bronze medal. Henk Grol NED countered Hwang He-Tae KOR to score waza ari. The Korean wa uable to pull the score back and Grol had his second Olympic bronze medal.
Naidan Tuvshinbayar MGL struggled with his injured knee before being thrown for ippon by Tagir Khaibulaev RUS with morote seoi nage.
NAIDAN, Tuvshinbayar (MGL) vs. KHAIBULAEV, Tagir (RUS)
Bronze Medal Fights
SAYIDOV, Ramziddin (UZB) vs. PETERS, Dimitri (GER)
GROL, Henk (NED) vs. HWANG, Hee-Tae (KOR)
HWANG, Hee-Tae (KOR) vs. NAIDAN, Tuvshinbayar (MGL)
PETERS, Dimitri (GER) vs. KHAIBULAEV, Tagir (RUS)
GASIMOV, Elmar (AZE) vs. SAYIDOV, Ramziddin (UZB)
GROL, Henk (NED) vs. KRPALEK, Lukas (CZE)
1. KHAIBULAEV, Tagir (RUS)
2. NAIDAN, Tuvshinbayar (MGL)
3. GROL, Henk (NED)
3. PETERS, Dimitri (GER)
5. HWANG, Hee-Tae (KOR)
5. SAYIDOV, Ramziddin (UZB)
7. GASIMOV, Elmar (AZE)
7. KRPALEK, Lukas (CZE)
IJF Media & Communication Department
Nicolas Messner & Gabriel Stanescu
Danny Hicks & Sheldon Franco-Rooks
Photos Tamas Zahonyi and Gabiela Sabau