Olympic Games Judo Gold for Brazil

London, July 28, 2012: MEN -60kg: Galstyan Steals the Day – With the exception of Georgi Zantaraia UKR -60kg, all of the top seeds, both men and women, made it to the quarter final stage. World No.1 Rishod Sobirov UZB looked most convincing early on in the men’s division with wins against Jacob Gnahoui BEN, Ludwig Paischer AUT, Javier Guedez VEN, and Felipe Kitadai BRA. The Uzbek, bronze medalist in Beijing, faced Arsen Galstyan RUS in the first semi final.

Galstyan had a narrow escape when he won a hantei decision in his quarter final against Choi Gwang-Hyeon KOR. In an extremely close battle, it was Galstyan who came up with a yoko sutemi waza for the winning score. In the lower half of the draw it was Elio Verde ITA who was responsible for putting out Zantariaia world champion from 2009. The Italian was then drawn against Hiraoka Hiroaki JPN in the second semi final where Hiraoka caught Verde beautifully with his trademark ko uchi gake for ippon.

This meant that Verde had to steal himself for one more effort in the bronze medal match against Kitadai. The Brazilian, however, was inspired today and taking Verde into golden score threw the Italian for yuko with morote seoi nage to take a well deserved if somewhat surprising bronze medal.

The second bronze medal went to Sobirov who edged out Sofiane Milous FRA without the Frenchman ever really testing the current world champion. The final was a fascinating match up between Galstyan RUS and Hiraoka JPN. There was plenty of support in the Arena for both fighters but it was Galstyan who brought the crowd to their feet by throwing Hiraoka for ippon with harai makikomi to become Olympic champion.

Final Results

1. GALSTYAN, Arsen (RUS)

2. HIRAOKA, Hiroaki (JPN)

3. KITADAI, Felipe (BRA)

3. SOBIROV, Rishod (UZB)

5. MILOUS, Sofiane (FRA)

5. VERDE, Elio (ITA)

7. CHOI, Gwang-Hyeon (KOR)

7. DAVTYAN, Hovhannes (ARM)

WOMEN -48kg: Menezes Takes Dumitru’s Crown

Defending Olympic champion Alina Dumitru ROM had a first round bye before facing stiff opposition in the shape of Dayaris Mestre Alvarez CUB. The Cuban had already defeated Russia’s Natalia Kondratyeva by throwing her neatly with sode tsuri komi goshi for waza ari. Facing Dumitru however Mestre Alvarez committed an infringement with a direct leg grab and was given hansokumake.

Dumitru was looking decidedly shaky in her quarter final against Munkhbat Uransetseg MGL and, with only 12 seconds left on the clock, was trailing by shido when she threw the Mongolian with a yoko sutemi waza for waza ari to take the match. This set up a semi final contest with current world champion Fukumi Tomoko who’d had a bit of a first round hiccup in being taken to golden score in her first round match against Spain’s Oiana Blanco whom she eventually strangled.

Things went a little bit more smoothly in Fukumi’s second match when she defeated Kelly Edwards GBR throwing Edwards for waza ari with tomoe nage before holding the Britain with kuzure tate shio gatame. Fukumi again needed golden score this time in her quarter final match with Paula Pareto ARG, Fukumi managing to squeeze past Pareto on the back of a single shido. Despite not looking quite at her best, Fukumi was considered a firm favorite in her match up with Dumitru.

Yet it was Dumitru who after a minute and forty seconds threw Fukumi with ko soto gari for waza ari. Dumitru then managed both Fukumi and the clock to book her place in the final. On the other side of the draw, after a first round bye, Charlene Van Snick BEL showed her class by winning both of her opening matches by ippon. Van Snick strangled Csernoviczki Eva HUN unconscious in their quarter final going on to face Brazil’s Sarah Menezes in the second semi final.

The Brazilian was a little slow to get going being taken the full distance by Van Ngoc Tu VIE whom she defeated by two yuko. Next to face Menezes was Laetitia Payet FRA who put up a spirited effort giving up a yuko score with just 18 seconds left. Menezes then eased past China’s Wu Shugen in her quarter final before defeating Van Snick with a low uchi mata to see off the dangerous Belgian challenge. In the final Menezes seemed to grow stronger and stronger eventually throwing Dumitru with seoi nage for waza ari and, in the process, taking Dumitru’s crown.

Final Results

1. MENEZES, Sarah (BRA)

2. DUMITRU, Alina (ROU)


3. VAN SNICK, Charline (BEL)

5. FUKUMI, Tomoko (JPN)

5. PARETO, Paula (ARG)

7. MUNKHBAT, Urantsetseg (MGL)

7. WU, Shugen (CHN)

IJF president Marius was pleased with the day not least of all the crowd’s appreciation of all the fighters. “It was particularly noteworthy that our guests had an opportunity to see true sportsmanship displayed by our judoka. Many guests (as Mr. Arkady Rottenberg or Joël Bouzou, President of the International Olympian Association) and both HRH Prince Albert of Monaco and IOC President Jacques Rogge, as well as the President of Mozambique, have seen judo and were here again today to witness the high degree of discipline and etiquette show by our judoka on the tatami”. With the first day having gone so well it seems very likely that there will be much more to make both the judo and Olympic family happy here in London. —- IJF

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