LONDON (AFP) –
Mansur Isaev beat Japan’s Riki Nakaya in the men’s under-73kg final on Monday to claim Russia’s second gold medal in the Olympic judo competition and pile on the misery for the Asian giants.
Isaev survived a Nakaya pick-up attempt to counter with a winding throw for the minimum yuko score with about a minute left in the final here on Monday and that proved enough.
He was understandably delighted and dedicated his medal to his whole country.
“I feel great, I’m delighted, it’s just sheer joy for everyone in Russia,” he said.
“This gold medal is a wonderful thing and I want everyone to understand it’s for the whole country.
“I want everyone to be proud of the medals we’ve won. For four years we’ve been working very hard to get medals and I’m delighted to say I’ve got the gold.”
The result means that after three men’s categories Japan have yet to win a gold medal in a sport they gave to the world and have traditionally dominated.
Mongolia’s Nyam-Ochir Sainjargal took the first bronze medal with a hard fought win over Dex Elmont of the Netherlands by a penalty score.
And in front of French President Francois Hollande, European champion Ugo Legrand won the second bronze by beating twice world champion Wang Ki-Chun of South Korea.
Isaev came up against world number one Wang in the semi-final and in one of many close encounters, he managed to sneak victory by a penalty.
It was his first win over the Korean in seven attempts having lost to Wang at the World Championships in both 2009 and 2010.
“It was a difficult bout but it was good preparation for my final,” said Isaev.
“He won silver in Beijing and was world champion twice. We’ve met seven times, I lost six times but this is the seventh and I won. Nothing could make me happier.”
Before that, the 25-year-old had also needed a penalty in golden score to beat former European champion Kiyoshi Uematsu of Spain.
However, he then threw both Rustam Orujov of Azerbaijan and Sainjargal for the maximum ippon score (a technical knock-out), the first with a rear throw (ura-nage) and the second with a pick-up (te-guruma).
Wang’s hopes of glory were seriously hampered in his second round when he suffered an arm injury.
The twice world champion and Olympic finalist in Beijing in 2008 resisted an armlock in his second round contest against Rinat Ibragimov of Kazakhstan before pinning his opponent.
But thereafter he was seen often clutching his arm during his further bouts and he seemed reluctant to grip up on his injured left side.
Second seed Nakaya had little trouble against Kyle Maxwell of Barbados in his opening bout, pinning him for ippon.
He also pinned Josef Palelashvili of Israel in the next round.
Nakaya met Beijing bronze medallist Rasul Boquiev of Tajikistan in the quarter-finals and sqeezed through on a penalty.
In the semi-final he was taken to a judges’ decision by Elmont but he was awarded a unamimous victory.
The Japanese said that he will now go back to work on his ground fighting (newaza) — his main strength — to try to bring home the gold medal in Rio in four years’ time.
“For the next Olympics I want to perfect my newaza to be perfect against anyone so I have to practise very hard,” he said.
Elmont began by beating Ghana’s Emmanuel Nartey by ippon with a drop shoulder throw (seoi-nage) but was pushed much closer by Brazil’s Bruno Mendonca and Legrand, whom he beat in golden score with a delightful winding inner thigh throw (uchi-mata-maki-komi).