Favourites on course for judo final

Japan head medals table with eight at world championship.

Afp August 26, 2011

PARIS: Favourites Ilias Iliadis of Greece and Japan’s Takashi Ono remained on course for a dream final at the Judo World Championships at the Palais Omnisport de Bercy.

Reigning champion Iliadis started slowly in the defence of his under-90 kilogramme (kg) title before squeezing past Poland’s Robert Krawczyk by a penalty. He picked things up in the next round against Algeria’s Lyes Bouyakoub whom he pinned for victory.

And that was when he really started to find his rhythm as he threw Moldova’s Ivan Remarenco with a stunning standing shoulder throw and then dumped Brazil’s Hugo Pessanha with a counter-sweep.

Ono wins on penalty

Masters champion in 2010 and world number two Ono was also slow off the mark as he needed a sudden death period of golden score to get past France’s Yves Matthieu Dafreville, also by a penalty.

He then threw Sweden’s Marcus Nyman for a half point waza-ari with an inner leg reap and saw off Slovakia’s Milan Randl with another inner reap,.

In the quarter-final he took advantage of Ukrainian Valentyn Grekov’s desperation when chasing the fight to whip underneath him and flip him over with a shoulder throw.

World number three Daiki Nishiyama of Japan was far from impressive against Georgia’s Varlam Liparteliani before finding progress against Lithuania’s Karolis Bauza somewhat easier. He then flattened Olympic finalist Amar Benikhlef of Algeria before narrowly ousting Cuba’s Asley Gonzalez on a penalty to set up an all-Japan semi-final.

Decosse in superb form

World champion Lucie Decosse was in imperious form at under-70 kg as she pinned Angola’s Antonia Moreira and then threw Linda Bolder of the Netherlands with an inner thigh technique.

World under-78kg champion Kayla Harrison of the US beat Japan’s Hitomi Ikeda to set up a semi-final against France’s Audrey Tcheumeo.

Japan still lead the medals table with five gold from eight categories while France, South Korea and Uzbekistan have one each.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th,  2011.