TEDDY MAKES IT TEN AS HE REGAINS OPEN WEIGHT CROWN

World Championships Open 2017

Odds on favorite Teddy RINER (FRA) settled the second of three scores that have been burning inside him for seven long years. It is an open secret that Riner’s loss in Tokyo to KAMIKAWA Daiki (that resulted in his losing the Open weight crown) caused him some distress. Riner was able a year later to avenge that loss to Kamikawa, settling one score. But that was at +100kg in the World championships staged in Paris in 2011. It has taken seven years to put the Open weight crown back in his hands settling a second score.

There remains just one more score to settle, and that is to win again in Tokyo where the Frenchman has not competed since 2010. The field of 40 judoka were never in any doubt that Riner would be the man to beat. And yet, despite the high quality group assembled, Riner was again untouchable, scoring two ippon and eight waza ari whilst collecting only two shido in his six contests. It was a performance that saw his opponents probing as opposed to threatening and, despite several spirited efforts the collective result was a reasonable test for Riner rather than a thorough examination. Missing from the testing group was Lukas KRPALEK (CZE) who is recovering from injury. Yet even Krpalek (Olympic champion at -100kg) is only just making his way in his new category of +100kg and has some way to go yet. Arguably David MOURA (BRA) and Rafael SILVA (BRA) may have added to the spice. But Riner’s form and performance leave little doubt that he would have dealt with them today as he has dealt with them in the past. Normal service has been resumed. Riner hold again the +100kg and Open weight crowns. The Japanese sent two players to Marrakech neither of whom managed to get a meeting with Riner. By the time the final came around it was Toma NIKIFOROV (BEL) who had battled his way to take the honor of facing Riner for the title. Riner did not embarrass the Belgian, but there was a gulf between them and, although Nikiforov had a great day and did himself proud, the job of challenging Riner’s supremacy remains vacant. Ten world titles to his credit now, Riner looks solidly encamped at the top of the mountain. All those with aspirations of toppling the great man face a long and extremely hard climb.

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