Judo legend Teddy Riner is back again after a surprise 2020 season, which included two defeats.
The double Olympic champion easily beat Inal Tasoev to win the Doha Masters and opened his season on a high ahead of the Olympics. The rejuvenated Frenchman was looking confident throughout the men’s +100kg final against the world No 3 Russian, who received three shido penalties.
“It’s good to be back on top after a long gap and qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games. I was very focused on getting the win in Doha and I’m so happy I succeeded,” Riner said.
Riner’s decade-long winning streak, which spanned 154 bouts, was ended in February 2020 on home soil at the Paris Grand Slam by Kageura Kokoro of Japan.
“The opponent was strong, but I managed to outdo him. The venue was absolutely fantastic and I really enjoyed fighting here. I always kept my focus and was intent only on winning the gold medal here,” he said.
Riner’s gold was the third of the day for France that finished at the top of the table with overall five golds, one silver and one bronze.
The other two gold of the day for France was won by Madeleine Malonga, who defeated Shori Hamada of Japan in the women’s -78kg category.
“I am very happy. It was a difficult competition. It is the start of the year and it was important to win for me. It is the year of the Olympics and since I am the world and European champion I wanted to win this event so I am now targeting the Olympic Games. It was a big break during events because of the virus and was difficult to prepare but I trained daily for this event,” said Malonga.
Romane Dicko in +78kg category won the other gold for France. She defeated Iryna Kindzerska of Azerbaijan.
The current World Champion in men’s -90kg category, Noel Van T End won the gold medal. He had difficult contests throughout the preliminary rounds, but Noel found the necessary energy to go through to the final.
In a high pressure final Gerogia’s Beka Gviniashvili dominated the bout, but he was too late to avoid Van T End’s waza-ari score. In the end the champion applied a lightning fast strangle for an ippon finish almost at the bell to win the first gold for the Netherlands.
“This is the first tournament of the year and I am very happy to win a gold medal here. It is a big achievement in this Olympic year. I was in top form and with these points which I got today I think I am safe and will go for the Olympics for sure. This is a very nice tournament with a few problems with the coronavirus but hospitality is very good and the weather here is very nice. The organisation is very good and I am happy to perform here again. I look forward to coming here again for the World Championships in 2023,” T End said.
Gold: Teddy Riner (France)
Silver: Inal Tasoev (Russia)
Bronze: Yakiv Khammo (Ukraine) and Henk Grol (Netherlands)
Gold: Varlam Lipartelini (Gerogia)
Silver: Zelym Kotsoiev (Aze)
Bronze: Peter Latchik (Israel) and Arman Adamian (Russia)
Gold: Noel Van T End (Netherlands)
Silver: Beka Gviniashvili (Gerogia)
Bronze: Eduard Trippel (Germany) and Lasha Bekauri (Georgia)
Gold: Romane Dicko (France)
Silver: Iryna Kindzerska (Aze)
Bronze: Nihel Cheikh Rouhou (Tun) and Kayra Sayit (Turkey)
Gold: Madeleine Malonga (France)
Silver: Shori Hamada (Japan)
Bronze: Guusje Steenhuis (Netherlands), Loriana Kuka (Kosova)
Best female athlete: Dlcko Romane (FRANCE) – 4 ippon – 9 minutes and 3 seconds.
Best male athlete: Grigalashvili Tato (GEORGIA) – 4 ippon – 16 minutes and 33 seconds.
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