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Japan's Satoshi Ishii wins gold in heavyweight judo with smallest body
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Japan's Satoshi Ishii won the gold medal in men's over 100kg division by outscoring Abdullo Tangriev from Uzbekistan on Friday at the Beijing Olympic Games to continue Japan's success in the highest weight judo.

Ishii defeated Tangriev in the five-minute fight with a yuko, a moderate advantage in judo competition, to retain the Olympic title achieved by his predecessor Keiji Suzuki at the Athens Games.

The 21-year-old Ishii, with a body of 110kg, has been a gold medalist with the smallest weight in the men's highest category since the open division was eliminated at the Seoul Games 1988.

Having a bye in the first round, Ishii made a perfect four ippons in all the five matches without giving any score to his opponents.

He stunned Tamerlan Tmenov of Russia, silver medalist of world championships 2007, only 16 seconds to go in the quarterfinal, then upset Lasha Gujejiani of Georgia, world championships bronze medalist, in the semifinal, all with ippon.

Ishii won Japanese domestic title at 19 in the heavyweight division to become the youngest national champion, which had shaken the whole country where judo was initiated.

"I am very happy to win because there is a lot of pressure on me from domestic people. I won the gold medal so I can come back to Japan alive," said Ishii who had reguarded the match as a live-and-death fight.

"We have prepared for many years for the over 100kg category which Japanese people most concentrate on," Takeuchi, press official with Japanese Olympic Committee told Xinhua.

"It is still a valuable medal for me and I am looking forward to future games with stronger performance," Tangriev said.

Tangriev beat Teddy Riner, world champion last year, in his quarterfinal to clean the way toward meeting Ishii. But Riner, world-ranked No. 1 this year, later rallied to win a bronze medal by upsetting Gujejiani.

"I had a disappointing semifinal and I will go back to have more training for the future games," Riner said.

Oscar Brayson from Cuba achieved the other gold by ipponing Mohammad Reza Rodaki of Iran.

"I won this medal not just for me, but for my people and the commander," Brayson said, referring to Cuba's military commander Raul Castro.

(Xinhua News Agency August 16, 2008)

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