Monday, August 11, 2008

Olympic Judo Women’s 56 Kilograms and Men’s 73 Kilograms- Day 3

Beijing, China—Day 3 of Olympic Judo in the Women’s 56 Kilo and Men’s 73 Kilo is underway.

First up in the Women’s 56Kilo Quarterfinals was Yurisleydis Lupety of Cuba vs. Jean Baptiste of Haiti. This match was literally bad blood as an ankle pick by Cuba sent Haiti careening head-first into the mat and bleeding tributaries. Cuba won the bout with an awesome double-leg lift which makes me think there is more wrestling in judo than there is in wrestling. There was also an incident involving an ippon-seoi nage shoulder throw and a flying referee’s chair.

Next bout in the 73Kilo Men’s Category was Erik Kibanza of the Democratic Republic of Congo facing Rasul Boquiev of Turkmenistan. If the last Women’s bout was Wrestling, this was Gymnastics. Boquiev dropped down for a circle throw and Kibanza completely cart-wheeled over it not just once, but twice on two circle throw attempts! Boquiev came back to win the match with an insane ippon-seoi nage into side-control and pin.

The Australians were downright angry judoka. Both Dennis Iverson and Maria Pekli came out aggressive like someone had just kicked over their brand new motorcycles and they’re coming to kill them (no one touches my Yamaha). Pekli came and just shucked Bernadette Baczko of Hungary out of bounds. Forget about tie-ups, she was throwing kicks like a Muay Thai fighter, somehow passing them off as footsweep attempts. Pekli, by sheer aggressiveness won by a shido, maybe they were just afraid she would go kill someone if she lost. Iverson’s temper on the other hand didn’t help him in the least bit as he pressured and punked Sezer Huysuz of Turkey around. Sezer waited for a failed drop shoulder throw by Iverson to take his back, pick him up like a freestyle wrestler, turn him like he was his bitch, and pin him with a scarf hold. Temper, temper.

Rinat Ibragimov of Kazakisan landed a beautiful sacrifice circle-throw on Korean Champion Wang Kichum, but Wang is the Prince of Persia. He stopped time already at 120 degrees into an ippon and practically rewound it, spinning off his head completely back over Kazaskistan to side-mount him.

Brazilian Leandre Guilheiro lived up to the legend and the stereotype of the Brazilian groundwork, pulling guard whenever he could, grabbing collars instead of sleeves, doing the cart-wheel guard pass on his head to flip out of sacrifice throws and sweeps. Mariano Daniel Bertolotti of Argentina was not happy after his bout with Leandre.

The match of the afternoon however was Aiko Sato of Japan vs. Xu Yan of China (ooooohh!). Japan and China generally hate each other as a rule and there was no exception here, they looked like they were ready to kill each other and China looked like she was going to eat souls. Fan girls in the stands chanted “AI-KO, AI-KO” as Aiko Sato showed her Judo finesse. Xu’s Judo was brutal, but Aiko’s was beautiful, she was quick and fluid and moved like water. She’d slip a throw and slide right into another one, pop to her feet and try it again, never letting up, but she’d just bounce into them like it was the most natural thing in the world. She missed a shoulder throw on Xu and turned it into a creative single leg snatch takedown. Her Judo was calligraphy. So it was a surprise to fans and audience when Xu Yan of China was awarded the victory for playing it safe, even the commentators agreed that the wrong athlete won the match and there were boo’s from the crowd. Aiko came back to pin Nina Koivumaki of finland, but was seriously injured by Ketleyn Quadros of Brazil and had to be carried out of the arena on a spine board.

Xu Yan went on to win the Bronze Medal in the Women’s 56 Kilogram Weight class.

For more live feeds of Olympic Judo, log onto If you are not a cable subscriber, lie and say you are because the live-feeds will not play if you specify local broadcast. Replays of matches are available in the results section for a limited amount of time. Thank you for reading and I will be covering the remaining Judo and Wrestling competitions for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

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