Monday, August 8, 2016

Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Brazil DAY 2

(Via IJF)



Judo makes history in Rio de Janeiro 



Women: -52kg - Men: -66kg  

The Rio 2016 Olympic Games crowned two new champions on a magical day of judo with surprises aplenty while superstars of the sport sealed their legacies and new stars were born on Sunday at the Carioca Arena 2.

The men’s -66kg category and women’s -52kg categories were both contested as 32 men and 22 women had the opportunity to compete on the grandest stage of them all at the Olympic Games. After dedicating their lives to their craft, sharpening their skills on every corner of the world in competitions and rigorous training camps, career-defining moments awaited those who could seize the stage and experience the greatest day of their lives.


Kosovo flagbearer Majlinda KELMENDI (KOS) attracted all the attention in the -52kg category in the build-up to day two and the double world champion duly delivered her country’s first Olympic medal at their first Olympic Games. Golden girl KELMENDI has long been the face of Kosovan sport and an international ambassador for the country which was recognised by the IJF in 2012 and by the IOC in 2014.


Mr. Hashim THACI, President of the Republic of Kosovo, was in attendance alongside Mr. Marius VIZER, IJF President

Mr. Marius VIZER, IJF President, commented on the victory of KELMENDI, “I am happy for the victory of Majlinda. She deserves it after so many years of effort and dedication. I want to congratulate Majlinda, but also her coach, the President of the Federation, the National Olympic Committee and everyone who contributed to help her to achieve this fantastic result. Generally speaking I am happy for all the athletes who qualified for the Games and I want to congratulate all the medallists so far.“

Patrick Hickey, President of the European Olympic Committee declared: “I am really thrilled and honored to be here today on the occasion of Majlinda Kelmendi’s victory. The first medal at the Olympic Games for Kosovo. I have great consideration and admiration for everything that President Vizer has done and the long campaign he led for the recognition of Kosovo within the sport community. This is truly an historical moment.“

Unseeded Italian Fabio BASILE (ITA) was not in the forefront of the minds of judo aficionados at the start of the day but he is now on the lips of every Italian and his name will be on the front pages of all the newspapers in his homeland on Monday.


The momentous moments on day two were shared by a host of distinguished guests who watched history unfold before them. 

Mr. Thomas BACH, IOC President
Mr. Patrick Joseph HICKEY, EOC President, IOC Executive Board Member
Mr. Hashim Thaci, President of the Republic of Kosovo
Mr. Carlos Arthur NUZMAN, Head of the Rio de Janeiro Organizing Committee, NOC President
Mr. Pere MIRO, Director of Olympic Solidarity
Mr. Kit McCONNELL, IOC Sports Director


Mr. Marius VIZER, IJF President, presented a 3rd Dan certificate to Mr. Patrick Joseph HICKEY, EOC President and IOC Executive Board Member, alongside Mr. Thomas BACH, IOC President. During the ceremony, Mr. Vizer presented to Mr. Bach a special present. 

On Monday, the attention of the sporting world will turn to the middleweights with the women’s -57kg and men’s -73kg categories set to be contested in Rio de Janeiro on the biggest stage in the sport.  



WOMEN

-52kg: Flagbearer KELMENDI ensures Kosovo’s first ever Olympics medal is gold      

Kosovo’s leading light, Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony flagbearer and double world champion Majlinda KELMENDI (KOS), fulfilled her destiny today as she won her country’s first ever medal at the Olympic Games and in true KELMENDI fashion it was gold in front of the President of the Republic of Kosovo Mr. Hashim THACI and International Olympic Committee President Mr. Thomas BACH. 


KELMENDI, 25, faced double World Judo Masters bronze medallist Odette GIUFFRIDA (ITA) in the -52kg gold medal contest with Kosovo’s first Olympic medal already guaranteed. The favourite went ahead after 29 seconds with a yuko from an uchi-mata and that proved to be the only score of the contest as 21-year-old ace GIUFFRIDA pressed forward and attacked with a yoko-tomoe-nage and then a reaching ouchi-gari but this time around KELMENDI, who had to represent Albania at London 2012, was not going to be denied and kept her advantage until the full four minutes elapsed to spark huge celebrations in the stands from the Kosovo delegation.

KELMENDI remained on the mat at the end of the four minutes in tears as she accomplished her dream and put her country in front of the eyes of the world with one of the most magic moments of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. As both judoka tried to take in what they had accomplished, they shared a heartfelt and heart-wrenching embrace along with their coaches which showed to the world why judo is regarded as being more than a sport.


GIUFFRIDA (ITA) and KELMENDI (KOS) show why judo is more than a sport

Kosovo’s first Olympic champion said: “I'm so happy. To be honest, I came here for the gold medal, but it's crazy. I'm so happy for me, for my coach, for all my country. This is the first time that Kosovo is part of the Olympics, and for the first time, I think gold is huge."

"That means a lot. People, especially kids, in Kosovo look to me as a hero. I just proved to them that even after the war, even after we survived a war, if they want something they can have it. If they want to be Olympic champions, they can be. Even if we come from a small country, poor country."

In the first semi-final GIUFFRIDA (ITA) defeated Baku Grand Slam bronze medallist MA Yingnan (CHN) by the smallest of margins as the scoreless contest ended in the favour of the former as the Chinese judoka was penalised once while the Italian pitched an unblemished record. The tears had already started for GIUFFRIDA who had tremendous support in the stands.

In the second semi-final KELMENDI (KOS) had one of her toughest assignments as she faced off against three-time world champion NAKAMURA Misato (JPN). The course of the contest followed the previous semi-final as NAKAMURA was penalised with a shido and KELMENDI did enough to avoid being penalised but held back as she opted for safety first as she did not need to take any risks. 

The first -52kg Olympic bronze medal contest saw NAKAMURA against three-time world medallist Erika MIRANDA (BRA). The chants of ‘Erika, Erika’ echoed around the arena but they were silenced in golden score when NAKAMURA repeated her Beijing 2008 Olympic bronze medal by scoring a match-winning yuko from an ouchi-gari.

The second -52kg Olympic bronze medal fight was won by World Judo Masters silver medallist Natalia KUZIUTINA (RUS) who held down MA with a tate-shiho-gatame for 20 seconds and ippon. KUZIUTINA showed her groundwork prowess which has reached a new level under the tutelage of her coach and famed French ne-waza exponent Jean- PIERRE GIBERT.   

Final
KELMENDI, Majlinda (KOS) vs GIUFFRIDA, Odette (ITA)  

Bronze Medal Fights
NAKAMURA, Misato (JPN) vs MIRANDA, Erika (BRA)
MA, Yingnan (CHN) vs KUZIUTINA, Natalia (RUS)  

Semi-Finals
MA, Yingnan (CHN) vs GIUFFRIDA, Odette (ITA)
NAKAMURA, Misato (JPN) vs KELMENDI, Majlinda (KOS)  



Final Results
1. KELMENDI, Majlinda (KOS)
2. GIUFFRIDA, Odette (ITA)   
3. NAKAMURA, Misato (JPN)  
3. KUZIUTINA, Natalia (RUS)  
5. MIRANDA, Erika (BRA)   
5. MA, Yingnan (CHN)
7. CHITU, Andreea (ROU)
7. LEGENTIL, Christianne (MRI)       

MEN

-66kg: A star is born as unseeded Italian Basile wins Italy’s first gold at Rio 2016  

European Championships bronze medallist Fabio BASILE (ITA) gave the performance of his life on day two to send shockwaves around the world as he sensationally won the -66kg Olympic gold medal. Torino’s BASILE, 21, who only qualified for the Olympics in May with a fifth-place finish at the Almaty Grand Prix, has always possessed star potential with a swagger and a confidence on and off the tatami but today his raw talent stole the show in the -66kg category. The youngster won four of his five fights by ippon including the final against AN and after sealing the most remarkable of victories, he had energy left over to do a backflip on the centre of the tatami. 


Italy’s newest star BASILE said: “Sincerely, I don't realise what's going on. Because in real life, I'm going to realise in a few hours that my life has always been judo."

"It's a thing I've done since I was a child, and I was thanking everyone who helped me out from the main coach to my team and everybody else."


In the first semi-final AN won a pulsating clash against three-time world champion and Olympic bronze medallist EBINUMA Masashi (JPN). Olympic debutant AN pushed the pace in golden score and came up with the first and ultimately last score of the contest as his yuko sent him into the gold medal contest.

In the second semi-final BASILE (ITA) narrowly defeated surprise contender Budapest Grand Prix winner Adrian GOMBOC (SLO) on shido penalties 0:2. GOMBOC, 21, had his own share of special moments during the day but BASILE was a class above everyone and drove his way into the final.

In the first -66kg Olympic bronze medal contest Rishod SOBIROV (UZB) incredibly won his third Olympic bronze medal as he submitted GOMBOC. Two-time world champion SOBIROV has now won Olympic bronze medals at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics and his place among the most prolific medallists in the sport.

In the second -66kg bronze medal contest EBINUMA defeated 21-year-old Pan American Championships bronze medallist Antoine BOUCHARD (CAN) with a ruthless display as he let out some of his frustrations after losing his semi-final in such agonising fashion. EBINUMA, who was urged forward by his mentor figure Barcelona 1992 Olympic champion YOSHIDA Hidehiko who was in the stands, threw with a drop seoi-nage for ippon before leaving the field of play and crying into the arms of Japanese head coach INOUE Kosei after only repeating his London 2012 Olympic bronze medal, having started the day as one of favourites. EBINUMA, 26, will be hard pressed to make it to a third Olympic Games with Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games winner ABE Hifumi among a host of starlets eying their country’s -66kg slot at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. 
  
Final
BASILE, Fabio (ITA) vs AN, Baul (KOR)

Bronze Medal Fights
GOMBOC, Adrian (SLO) vs SOBIROV, Rishod (UZB)
EBINUMA, Masashi (JPN) vs BOUCHARD, Antoine (CAN)  

Semi-Finals
EBINUMA, Masashi (JPN) vs AN, Baul (KOR)
GOMBOC, Adrian (SLO) vs BASILE, Fabio (ITA)  

  
Final Results
1. BASILE, Fabio (ITA)  
2. AN, Baul (KOR)
3. SOBIROV, Rishod (UZB) 
3. EBINUMA, Masashi (JPN)  
5. GOMBOC, Adrian (SLO)   
5. BOUCHARD, Antoine (CAN)   
7. MATEO, Wander (DOM)
7. DAVAADORJ, Tumurkhuleg (MGL)              


COMPETITION PROGRAMME
Monday - 8 August 
10:00 - 13:00 Preliminaries
15:30 - 18:10 Final block  

Women: -57kg
Men: -73kg

Tuesday - 9 August 
10:00 - 13:00 Preliminaries
15:30 - 18:10 Final block   

Women: -63kg
Men: -81kg

Wednesday - 10 August 
10:00 - 13:00 Preliminaries
15:30 - 18:10 Final block  

Women: -70kg
Men: -90kg

Thursday - 11 August 
10:00 - 13:00 Preliminaries
15:30 - 18:10 Final block  

Women: -78kg
Men: -100kg

Friday - 12 August 
10:00 - 13:00 Preliminaries
15:30 - 18:10 Final block  

Women: +78kg
Men: +100kg

Location: Carioca Arena 2

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