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Olympics-Judo-Krpalek wins gold as Riner suffers shock defeat

·2 min read
Judo - Men's +100kg - Quarterfinal

By Tetsushi Kajimoto

TOKYO (Reuters) -Czech heavyweight Lukas Krpalek won gold in the men's judo +100 kg division on Friday, defeating Guram Tushishvili of Georgia in the final, after double Olympic champion Teddy Riner suffered a shock defeat in the quarters.

It was the 30-year-old Krpalek's second Olympic gold medal after he won the -100 kg division in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

He beat Tushishvili by the combination of a sumi-gaeshi corner throw and a side four-corner hold for an ippon victory in a nearly four-minute contest.

"All that time I gave it everything, despite the limited conditions where we could not travel as much as we needed," Krpalek told Czech TV.

"It was not easy ... I am really happy that it worked and that I have this gold medal around my neck."

In the women's +78 kg class, Japanese judoka Akira Sone won Olympic gold, defeating Idalys Ortiz of Cuba in the final and helping host country Japan secure a record haul of nine gold medals from the sport in Tokyo, surpassing the previous record of eight at the 2004 Athens Games.

The 32-year-old Riner recovered to win bronze after coming through the repechage following his defeat to Tamerlan Bashaev of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) that sent shockwaves through the competition.

The Frenchman, one of the biggest names in the sport, was aiming for a third consecutive gold to match a record held by Japanese great Tadahiro Nomura.

Yet Riner, sporting a beard and a shaved head, lost to the ROC's Bashaev after suffering a sumi-otoshi waza-ari throw in 'Golden Score' sudden-death overtime.

Friday's defeat followed a surprise loss last year when Riner, 10-time world champion, lost for the first time in nearly a decade. Japan's Kokoro Kageura ended Riner's 154-match winning streak, going back to 2010, in the Paris Grand Slam.

Riner came through a repechage contest later on Friday, winning against Rafael Silva of Brazil, before beating Hisayoshi Harasawa to win a bronze medal, adding to the Frenchman's tally of two golds and one bronze from previous Games. Bashaev also won bronze.

"I think everybody knows the Olympic Games is very difficult. Every athlete is trying for one medal in their career, I have four. I'm very happy," Riner told reporters.

In the women's +78 kg category, bronze medals went to Iryna Kindzerska of Azerbaijan and Romane Dicko of France.

Sone, the world champion who was making her Olympic debut in the heaviest category for women, defeated Kindzerska in the semi-finals and Turkey's Kayra Sayit in the quarters.

"I competed today thinking I must follow other Japanese judokas who went on a medal rush from the day one in the Games," Sone told reporters.

(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; additional reporting by Robert Muller in PRAGUE, ; Editing by Toby Davis)

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