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Judo: Japan wins third gold, Africa celebrates best results
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Masae Ueno became the third Japanese gold medalist in judo who had retained Olympic title and Algerian and Egyptian judokas made an African celebration by winning siver and bronze in men's division on Wednesday.

Although rarely appeared in international competitions after winning the 70kg-class final in Athens, Ueno stunned her final opponent Cuba's Hernandez within 46 seconds tonight, adding her fourth ippon for the whole competition.

The success of the 29-year-old defending champion redeemed Japanese judo squad who won eight gold medals in Athens.

Before the Hernandez bout, Ueno had repeated her victory of the Athens final by shoulder-throwing 2004 Olympic runner-up Edith Bosch of the Netherlands, with a waza-ari in the semifinal.

In the meeting with her Dutch rival, Ueno, who stands 1.6 meters, only surrendered a koka to 1.83-meter-tall Bosch. Ueno's win over Bosch once again proved judoka's ability could not be judged by size of their figures.

Bosch later beat Spanish Leire Iglesias by an ippon to have her second Olympic medal.

"It is harder to stay at the top than to get to the top," said Bosch, 2005 world champion. "With two Olympic medals, I am very satisfied."

The other bronze went to Ronda Rousey, who upset Annett Boehm of Germany by yuko to claim the U.S. women's first Olympic judo medal.

"It will take a lot more than this to make judo big in the USA," the 21-year-old American said, revealing that she would take a year off to go to school after the Olympic Games.

"My mum always said she wanted me to know what it feels like to be one of the best in the world," she said.

Rousey's mother, Ann Maria Rousey, was world judo champion in 1984.

In the men's 90kg category, African judokas experienced perhaps the happiest moment since the first competition day.

Amar Benikhlef from Algeria cleared his way to the final which had come beyond he and his coach's expectations.

When Benikhlef defeated Frenchman Dafreville by an ippon with 16 seconds left in the semifinal, his coach could not help jumping up to hail the victory as if the Algerian judoka had won a gold medal.

Benikhlef kneeled and kissed the mat for a long time with a praying posture after winning the semifinal since he knew that he not only will win a silver medal at least for his country but also the rest result for African judo.

"I would like to thank everybody, the Algerian federation and particularly my coach. I have trained very hard in the last six months to get this result," said Benikhlef after losing in the final. He achieved 17th place at Athens Games.

"My silver medal and Eygptian bronze medal mean that judo has been developed widely in the world," he added.

There have been two major upsets in Wednesday's judo competition.

Gevrise Emane from France, who was the world champion in women's 70kg division last year and world-ranked No. 1, lost in the first round to Spanish Leire Iglesias.

"I didn't fight badly against her. I should have put more pressure on her at the end, but I didn't," she said.

Ilias Iliadis of Greece, who was the gold medalist of 81kg category in Athens, was outscored in the first round.

Iliadis, also the national flag bearer of the Greek delegation at the opening ceremony of the Games, even failed to come up from repechage to fight for a bronze medal.

(Xinhua News Agency August 14, 2008)

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