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Putin fails to inspire Russia to elusive gold medal at World Judo Championships


Even the presence of Vladimir Putin could not inspire Russia to their first gold medal of the 2014 World Judo Championships here today.

The Russian President turned up shortly before the home men’s squad took on Japan in the final of the team competition, the last event of these brilliant Championships.

He was accompanied by International Judo Federation (IJF) President Marius Vizer, arriving to loud cheers from the capacity crowd of 7,000.

Initially, having Putin, Honorary President of the IJF, in the crowd appeared to have turbo-charged the Russian team.

First Kamal Khan-Magomedov shocked Ebinuma Masahi, winner of the last three World Championships in the under-66 kilogram category, with an o-goshi for an ippon, bringing Putin to his feet.

Then Denis Iartcev dominated Shohei Ono, the new under-73kg world champion, to double Russia’s lead.

But then the momentum slipped away from Putin’s Russia as, first, Takanori Nagase defeated Murat Khabachirov after a golden score and then teenager Mashu Baker held down Magomed Magomedov to level the scores.

In the winner takes all final contest, Ryu Shichinohe, silver medallist in the over-100kg yesterday, beat Aslan Kambiev with a tate-shiho-gatame for 15 seconds.

Afterwards, Putin visited the Russian team to congratulate them on their silver medals and reportedly told them “it is no disgrace to lose to the founders of judo”.

The bronze medals were won by Germany and Georgia as they beat Kazakhstan and Brazil respectively.

Vladimir Putin received a huge ovation from the Russian crowd when he arrived for the World Judo Championships ©World Judo Championships 2014 Chelyabinsk
Vladimir Putin received a huge ovation from the Russian crowd when he arrived for the World Judo Championships ©World Judo Championships 2014 Chelyabinsk

The women’s contest was also a close contest as France beat Mongolia 3-2.

Priscilla Gneto had given her team the lead with her first career win over Mongolia’s Bundmaa Munkhbaatar before Sumiya Dorjsuren beat world bronze medallist Automne Pavia with a drop seoi-nage to make it all square.

World under-63kg champion Clarisse Agbegnenou helped Frances cause and her bid to become individual and team champion by beating Mungunchimeg Baldorj with a yuko and waza-ari, all in the last 48 seconds.

Tsend-Ayush Naranjargal restored parity with a win against Margaux Pinot to make it 2-2.

It all came down to under-78kg world silver medallist Audrey Tcheuméo and Munkhtuya Battulga and the Frenchwoman threw her Mongolian rival for ippon with a uchi-mata as her teammates jumped for joy matside.

The bronze medals were won by Germany and Japan, who defeated Poland and hosts Russia.

It meant neither of last year’s team winners in Rio de Janeiro – Georgia and Japan – even made it to the final on this occasion and each had to settle for the bronze medals.

Russia, meanwhile, finished with a total of nine medals – three silver and six bronze.

Only Japan, with 11, won more in total but they claimed five gold.

“I am really pleased with the global results,” said Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, who was also here today.

“A few years back that wouldn’t have been possible.

“Of course, we wanted gold as well, but sport is never written in advance and the concurrence is important at the international level.”

Watch the latest action on Judo TV here.

This article first appeared in Inside the Games and has been reproduced with permission. The original article can be viewed by clicking here.

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