Judo: Khalmurzaev wins Russia's second judo gold at Rio

Tue Aug 9, 2016 7:27pm EDT
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By Chris Gallagher

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Russia climbed to the top of the judo medal table on Tuesday as Khasan Khalmurzaev earned his country’s second judo gold of the Rio Games in emphatic fashion, thrilling the crowd at the Carioca Arena.

Ending his campaign with a bang, the European champion won his final two matches by ippon, judo's equivalent of a knockout, over Sergiu Toma of the United Arab Emirates in the semi-final and then American Travis Stevens in the final of the men’s -81kg category.

Russia had also won bronze in judo on Sunday, extending its strong run in the sport after claiming five medals total at the Olympics four years ago, including a London-best three gold.

Khalmurzaev had praise for Stevens and how he pushed him to victory.

“I know this opponent and I know he is strong, so I did all I could do to win this gold medal,” he said.

Khalmurzaev’s triumph ended Stevens’ dream of becoming the first man from the United States to win gold in judo.

Despite settling for silver, it was third time lucky for Stevens after he had come home without a medal from the Beijing and London Olympics.

Takanori Nagase won Japan's sixth judo bronze medal so far in Rio, though his country remains stuck on one gold – a figure that the traditional judo power surely wants to boost.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Judo - Final - Men -81 kg Final - Gold Medal Contest - Carioca Arena 2 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 09/08/2016. Khasan Khalmurzaev (RUS) of Russia celebrates winning the gold medal. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach