Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia
7: WOMEN +78kg, MEN +100kg
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final day of competition at the 2000 Sydney Olympic tournament sparkled
with the perfect send off for a great champion, but also produced
the greatest controvers yet. David Douillet of France broke the great
Yasuhiro Yamashita's record for international tournament victories
by retaining his Olympic title to add to his four World titles.
The Japanese, in particular head coach Yamashita, were livid with
the outcome and complained fiercely that the result should have been
an Ippon victory for Shinohara. The dispute happened after one minute
and forty seconds of the contest. Douillet attacked Shinohara with
Uchi-mata and as Shinohara stepped over the Frenchman's leg, Douillet
somersaulted onto his back and Shinohara fell on his side. The referee
gave a Yuko to Douillet while one judge indicated an Ippon for Shinohara.
The other judge didn't flinch so the score went Douillet's way. The
Frenchman, who has long since announced this would be his swansong
in competitive Judo, went on to record another Yuko which proved enough
to beat Shinohara and become the second man to retain an Olympic title
at these Games and spark wild celebrations from a passionate French
It was a great turnaround for Douillet who has missed most of the
last three years of competition with a back injury. He was only fighting
in his third competition since the 1997 World championships. Few people
knew what to expect from him after such a long break with injuries,
but he proved he had lost none of his ability. After a first round
bye, he faced a tough opener against Selim Tataroglu of Turkey, a
double medallist from last year's World championship. Douillet proved
he was still the master by throwing the giant Turk for Ippon with
Ouchi-gari. Next up he faced another seasoned veteran but was too
canny for Harry Van Barneveld who was wound up to Hansoku-make. World
silver medallist Indrek Pertelson was also thrown for Ippon to set
up the dream final against Shinohara, a repeat of their 1997 World
"I've come back a long way these last three years," said Douillet.
"I have mixed emotions about today. Obviously I am happy because I
won the gold medal. But I am also sad because I have had to turn this
page in the book. This chapter has taken up half my life and now it
has come to an end." During the press conference Douillet was called
on his mobile phone by both the French president, Jaques Chirac, and
the prime minister, Lionel Jospin. Douillet joked around saying the
president was getting confused between Judo and Sumo wrestling before
saying that all of France was moved by his victory.
But while Douillet felt on top of the world, Shinohara was inconsolable
and cried throughout the medal ceremony. Yamashita was adament that
his fighter had won the contest. "This was a big mistake," he said.
"Shinohara scored a perfect Ippon with Uchi-mata-sukeshi (counter
to an innner thigh throw) and the fight has clearly been misjudged."
In Japan the Sukeshi technique is considered to be the most difficult
and admirable to execute. Yamashita, who was never beaten during his
competitive career, was so upset because the Japanese thought that
Shinohara had won in such magnificent style but that he was denied
by poor officiating.
women's heavyweight final was a tactical affair between the Chinese
World silver medallist, Hua Yuan, and the Cuban double Open-weight
World champion, Daima Beltran. Both fighters had dominated their pools
on the way to the final and looked a class apart from the competition.
They struggled in vain to turn each other onto their backs but could
only manage a few knockdowns that didn't score. Yuan was the more
positive and her superior fitness and speed ensured she was usually
first to the attack. Although they were both penalised for passivity
towards the end of the bout, the result was rarely in doubt and Yuan
won a unanimous judges' decision.
The World champion, Beata Maksymow of Poland suffered a shock second
round defeat to the American, Colleen Rosensteel in a rare upset in
the women's division. The American then lost in the next round, so
the World champion didn't even get a lifeline in the repechage. The
two bronze medal fights were Asia-Europe contests in which both Asians
came out on top. Mayumi Yamashita of Japan, no relation to the coach,
and Seon Young Kim of South Korea took their places on the podium.
Meanwhile the men's bronze medals were claimed by two Europeans, Tamerlan
Tmenov of Russia and Indrek Pertelson of Estonia. Tmenov had been
fantastic all day, throwing top fighters for Ippon on his way to a
semi-final against Shinohara. The Russian led for most of the bout
but with a minute remaining the big Japanese caught him with a big
Osoto-gari for Ippon, so he had to settle for a fight for bronze.
Pertelson said afterwards that he had come here for gold, so naturally
he was disappointed at finishing with just a bronze. But he paid tribute
to Douillet for his victory. "Today was David Douillet's day. He was
excellent and to come back like that is amazing," he said.
a competition day below to read reviews »
NOMURA Tadahiro (JPN)
OZKAN Huseyin (TUR)
MADDALONI Giuseppe (ITA)
TAKIMOTO Makoto (JPN)
HUIZINGA Mark (NED)
INOUE Kosei (JPN)
DOUILLET David (FRA)
TAMURA Ryoko (JPN)
VERDECIA Legna (CUB)
FERNANDEZ Isabel (ESP)
VANDENHENDE Severine (FRA)
VERANES Sibelis (CUB)
TANG Lin (CHN)
YUAN Hua (CHN)
For full results & photos