Menezes wins historic judo gold, Galstyan shines for Russia

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LONDON. July 29. KAZINFORM Rising star Sarah Menezes became the first Brazilian woman to win an Olympic judo gold when she defeated Beijing Games Alina Dumitru to lift the women's 48kg title here on Saturday while Russian Galstyan emerged as the eventual winner in the men's 60kg, Xinhua said.

The surprises of the day also came from women's top seed Tomoko Fukumi of Japan falling out of the medal place and men's biggest favorite Rishod Sobirov failing to beat his own bronze medal performance in Beijing.

Menezes now is only the second Brazilian to stand on the podium after Ketleyn Quadros took bronze in the -57kg at Beijing 2008. The judo-love country qualified for all the 14 events here.

The junior world champion in 2009 had a disappointing journey to Beijing 2008 when she just finished 19th but she determined to not let that happen again.

The final between Romanian Dumitru and Menezes was a scoreless tie with only one minute left, when the 22-year-old managed to score first a yuko and then a waza-ari point.

Dumitru, 29, said earlier this year that she might retire after the 2012 Olympics, as her body is struggling to cope, and then maybe start a family. She has also recently been suffering from insomnia, in which she needed help from a doctor and a psychologist.

Hungarian Eva Csernoviczki pushed aside Fukumi for the bronze and Charline van Snick defeated Argentine Paula Pareto to take the other.

In the men's field, 23-year-old Galstyan took a surprisingly quick victory over his Japanese opponent Hiroaki Hiraoka, throwing him on the mat to win by ippon in just 41 seconds. It was their second meeting in seven months after Galstyanhad beat Hiraoka in Almaty Masters.

"I can't believe it yet that I won. I was determined to go for the gold. My dream was to become Olympic champion," said Galstyan.

"I met the Japanese before and beat him. Russia is stronger," he continued.

Galstyan had to wait for the judges' decision after he threw Hiraoka and he was awarded an ippon. The Russian said he would not have been affected by judges' decision even if it were not favorable of him.

"I waited - I was ready to continue. The judges checked the video and then made their decision. I was confident in myself," he said.

In the semifinal, Galstyan destroyed Sobirov's dream of winning the first gold medal by an Uzbek judoka, defeating him in the golden score period.

Sobirov had to settle for the bronze just as he did in Beijing four years ago and Felipe Kitadai of Brazil shared the third place by defeating Italian Elio Verde.

 

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