Sun, Aug 10, 2008 - Page 18 News List

JUDO: Romania’s Dumitru stuns Ryoko Tani on way to gold

AP , BEIJING

Taraje Williams-Murray of the US, top, competes with Japan’s Hiroaki Hiraoka during their preliminary round bout in the men’s judo 60kg division in Beijing yesterday. Williams-Murray won the match.

PHOTO: AP

Romania’s Alina Dumitru won the first gold medal in the Olympic judo competition yesterday, stunning Japanese double gold medalist Ryoko Tani in the 48kg class semi-final and then flipping Cuba’s Yanet Bermoy to the mat in the final.

South Korea’s Choi Min-ho, who won bronze in Athens, threw all of his opponents to win the men’s 60kg division.

Tani, who had not been beaten in a major international competition since the Atlanta Games in 1996, saw her hopes of a third-straight gold evaporate when judges awarded penalties to Dumitru after both failed to show much aggression.

Looking stunned, Tani fought desperately after the final penalty call, but with only seconds left had no time to mount an attack.

She defeated Russia’s Lyudmila Bogdanova for bronze.

An underdog, Choi completely dominated his competition and defeated Ludwig Paischer, who is ranked No. 1 in the world, just seconds into their final match.

But Tani, a seven-time world champion, was the surprise of the day.

Though she won her bronze decisively — throwing the tall Russian to the mat with 2 minutes, 33 seconds left in the five-minute bout — she had to go the distance with Sayaka Matsumoto of the US in her first bout, cautiously dominating the match and winning on points.

Silver medalist Bermoy, who won the 2005 world championship when Tani sat it out to have a baby, was making her Olympic debut. She had lost only four bouts this year.

Argentina’s Paula Pareto flipped North Korea’s Pak Ok-song at the buzzer to win the second bronze. The judges initially called Pak the winner, but then gave Pareto a waza ari, which put her ahead.

Paischer, who had been the men’s favorite, easily cruised into the second round after a first match ippon throw, setting up an early showdown with Britain’s Craig Fallon, the 2005 world champion.

Fallon defeated Paischer on his home turf for this year’s Vienna World Cup title, but Paischer got his revenge on Beijing’s mats by beating Fallon — who had blood dripping off his face — with two koka points.

Paischer next took a yuko win over North Korea’s Kim Kyong-jin to earn his spot in the semi-finals against France’s Dimitry Dragin, who is ranked 23rd in the world. He pinned Dragin just as time ran out.

The bronzes went to Uzbekistan’s Rishod Sobirov and Ruben Houkes of the Netherlands.

Japan’s Hiroaki Hiraoka, the Asian champion, crashed out in his first bout, losing on points to US entry Taraje Williams-Murray.

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