French superstar teddy Riner wins 9th world judo title
French heavyweight king Teddy Riner of France fought for the first time since the Rio 2016 Olympics and looked like he had never been away. While the Frenchman remained the favourite for the title, there was high expectations from all as new challengers had emerged while he had been away and the rules had been modified during his absence.
The 28-year-old heavyweight king extended his run of consecutive contest wins to 134-0 as he won five of his six contests by ippon including the final against world number one David Moura of Brazil. Riner threw with a sasae-tsurikomi-ashi after two minutes of golden score to bring the crowd out of their seats and sent the French fans wild. The Frenchman fell to his knees in jubilation and raised both of his hands up in the air as the French flags were flying highest in Budapest.
Riner said that everyone wants to beat him, to put his name on their CV, but nobody has wanted it more and tried harder than the young Georgian and European champion Guram Tushishvili (GEO) who showed no fear but lots of heart.
The Georgian came close to scoring in golden score as he claimed a waza-ari but Riner landed on his front and with one elbow down. While the Frenchman was rattled he showed his championship qualities by dispatching the plucky youngster who could not contain his disappointment but still left the field of play with his head held high. Riner showed his respect for the enormous effort of his young challenger Tushishvili (GEO).
David Moura beat former Baku Grand Slam winner Bor Barna (HUN) in the second semi-final to reach his first Worlds final.
In the first bronze medal contest Beijing 2008 Olympic champion Naidan Tuvshinbayar (MGL) defeated Tushishvili in an astounding achievement for him and his country. The Mongolian fans in crowd, who were holding up calendars with his face on and 2008, roared with pleasure for their 33-year-old compatriot who took silver at London 2012 and was competing in the heavyweight category for the first time since a rare +100kg appearance in 2011.
When Naidan returned to the warm up area after his contest to prepare for the awarding ceremony, the first man to congratulate him was U100kg Olympic champion and former world champion Lukas Krpalek. The Czech Republic heavyweight, who was with his son and wife, watched the action in Budapest having had to pull out through injury a week ago.
In the second bronze medal contest double Olympic bronze medallist Rafael Silva (BRA) dismissed Bor in golden score when the home judoka was penalised for the second time. A second shido for the Hungarian separated the two after they had been tied with a shido apiece in additional time as the hosts missed the medal podium in the individual competition.