NARROW MISS FOR IMPROVED LIPARTELIANI AS CONWAY AND VARGAS KOCH COLLECT BRONZE

Olympic Games 2016

Varlam LIPATELIANI’S (GEO) attempt to win gold on day five of the Olympic Games in Rio fell agonizingly short as he was defeated by a single yuko by BAKER Mashu (JPN) in final of the -90kg category. It may seem like little compensation to the Georgian but his performance was impressive and his achievement is at the very least a vast improvement on that of London 2012.

There were upsets aplenty along the way beginning early in the morning when unheralded CHENG Xunzhao (CHN) defeated 2004 Olympic gold medal winner and three times world champion Ilias ILIADIS (GRE), whom he threw for ippon to stun a crowded Carioca Arena. Cheng then went on to defeat TOTH Kristian (HUN), and Marcus NYMAN (SWE) both by ippon with o soto gari. Iliadis and Toth were out of the competition whist Nyman ended up a credible and hard fought fifth, losing the bronze medal contest to current world champion GWAK Dong Han (KOR) who had earlier lost to Liparteliani in the semifinal. When asked whether he could count the day a success Liparteliani answered, “First of all thank you to all my supporters in Georgia. It was my dream to be Olympic champion, but this time it did not happen. I hope for the next time. My dream lives on."

World number one Kim POLLING (NED) began the day as favourite but that vaunted position did not last long as she lost her opening contest to the unassuming TACHIMOTO Haruka (JPN). The unseeded 26 year-old Japanese, a real favourite with players on the international circuit, was the only Japanese woman who had not won a world or Olympic medal to be selected for these. That changed today as Tachimoto (having disposed of number one seed Polling), went on to defeat in the quarterfinal Kelita ZUPANCIC (CAN), in the semifinal Laura VARGAS KOCH (GER), and, in the final, three times world champion Yuri ALVEAR (COL). Vargas Koch eventually won bronze from Maria BENABEU (ESP).

In the other half of the draw it was Sally CONWAY (GBR) who caused an upset in the category by defeating current world champion Gevrise EMANE (FRA). Conway went on to defeat Linda BOLDER (ISR) in the quarterfinal before losing to Alvear in the semifinal. The Bronze medal contest saw Conway up against Bernadette GRAF, the British player coming out the winner.

When asked to describe her feelings Vargas Koch said, “I'm really tired and really happy." Vargas Koch’s last contest appeared particularly tough and the German had this to say about the fight, “It was really difficult and Bernabeu was a lot tougher than I thought as well." There were a noticeably large number of German supporters in the venue about which Vargas Koch said, “My mom's here and also my best friend Victor who I live with, and all my friends from the team and also other people from Cologne and my coaches. I am really happy they are here."

Sally Conway was candid regarding her defeat of Gevrise Emane and said, "One of my highlights today was beating one of my toughest opponents, Gevrise Emane. I've never beaten her before. I had a mental block in my head about fighting her, but today I managed to beat her and come away with a bronze medal." When asked whether she could describe exactly what winning the bronze meant to her Conway answered, "It will really lift the team up. The whole team really deserves the medal. Everybody's put in so much work the last four years. I'm just happy I could bring home a bronze medal to Great Britain."

With regard to competing in Brazil Conway said, “I'm so happy I could share this with everyone. The crowd here has been absolutely amazing. Even though I'm not from Brazil, I felt like it today."


-90 kg

1. BAKER, Mashu (JPN)

2. LIPARTELIANI, Varlam (GEO)

3. GWAK, Donghan (KOR)

3. CHENG, Xunzhao (CHN)

-70 kg

1. TACHIMOTO, Haruka (JPN)

2. ALVEAR, Yuri (COL)

3. CONWAY, Sally (GBR)

3. VARGAS KOCH, Laura (GER)

Events


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