Video replay technology will be used at the Olympics judo competition for the first time in an effort to eradicate judging controversies.
The sport has suffered from scandals due to the difficult nature of sometimes scoring a bout. The most notorious case was the men’s heavyweight final in Sydney 2000 when Frenchman David Douillet defeated Japan’s Shinichi Shinohara.
International Judo Federation Refereeing Director Juan Carlos Barcos says such incidents will be eliminated after the technology is adopted.
“Sydney was in the past but unfortunately this situation brought too much controversy to judo,” said Barcos. “That’s why we use technology to evaluate and make a fair decision. I don’t think it can happen [again] but you never know.”
In the Sydney final, the blue riband event, and one between a legend of the sport in Douillet and the representative from the most successful country and founders of the martial art, the result went the wrong way.
Douillet attacked Shinohara with an inner thigh throw but the Japanese somehow managed to slip off the technique and use great arm strength to counter the Frenchman and flip him onto his back. As both men came crashing to the ground it was difficult to see who had been in control of the movement. The referee and two corner judges were at odds over who to give a score and even what score to give.
In the end they plumped for a small yuko score for Douillet but replays showed that Shinohara should have been given a maximum ippon (technical knock-out). Douillet went on to win the fight by that minor yuko score.
“If it is clear for one or the other we will do it, but if it’s such a difficult decision that it’s not just the referees but also the public who haven’t seen a big mistake, it’s better not to give a score to one or the other. We’ll use two cameras, one each side [of the mat] so it will be very difficult to make a terrible mistake.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2012.