Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults: Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds' (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults: Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds'

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

War and Markets, with Steen Jakobsen, Chief Economist at Saxo Bank

Read more

FOCUS

Constitution prohibits Aung San Suu Kyi from running for president

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is Poor Military Training Causing a Larger Death Toll in Gaza?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Villepin Criticises France for Not Speaking Out on Gaza

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

France's Iliad reaches for T-Mobile

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Air Algerie investigation continues

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Dozens of youths trampled to death on Conakry beach

Read more

  • Truce violation accusations fly as Gaza ceasefire begins

    Read more

  • Regional summit to tackle deadly Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • €2.5mn of cocaine ‘disappears’ from Paris police HQ

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • Ukrainian army suffers losses in separatist attack

    Read more

  • Dozens killed and injured in Taiwan gas blast

    Read more

  • Argentinian markets plummet following default

    Read more

  • French Jews speak of growing fear in Paris amid Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • Video: Inside Hamas ‘terror’ tunnels in Gaza

    Read more

  • Sierra Leone declares state of emergency over spread of Ebola

    Read more

  • France remembers murdered socialist hero Jean Jaurès

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Scores feared dead in India landslide

    Read more

  • Russia ordered to pay further €1.9 billion to Yukos shareholders

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

French judo wrestler Riner goes for gold

Latest update : 2008-07-30

France's Teddy Riner is one the country's best hopes for a gold medal at the Beijing Olympic Games and the youngest world champion ever. His main competition for the gold will be the Japanese national champion, Satoshi Ishii.

Two of judo's rising stars are raring to revive an epic East-West rivalry as Japan looks to youth and experience to restore their pride in a sport they gave to the world.
  
Satoshi Ishii, a Japanese national champion who has never fought on the big stage, and 19-year-old world champion Teddy Riner of France, will battle for the over-100kg heavyweight gold, the most prestigious Olympic judo honour.
  
"No doubt Riner stands out as a great wall. It's hard to guess how much he may have grown in half a year," Japanese men's head coach Hitoshi Saito said after the teenager's triumph in the blue-ribbon Paris tournament last February.
  
A possible showdown between Ishii and Riner in Beijing will revive memories of the fierce heavyweight rivalry between the two judo superpowers.
  
In the 2000 final in Sydney, David Douillet retained his Olympic title with a narrow points win over then world heavyweight and open-class champion Shinichi Shinohara.
  
Japan vainly protested after the referee failed to recognise a sophisticated counter-attack which could have made Shinohara the winner.
  
Shinohara earlier lost to the French hero on a dubious decision in the 1997 world championship final in Paris.
  
They both retired before the 2004 Athens Games where Keiji Suzuki regained the title for Japan by beating Russian Tamerlan Tmenov.
  
In Beijing, Suzuki fights in the under-100kg class in which he was the world champion in 2005.
  
"Judo is a brawl guided by rules," said Ishii, 21, who beat Suzuki at Japan's national championship in April to win his first-ever spot in the Olympics or the worlds.
  
"I will desparately go for the gold medal. The result is all I care about. How I fight is secondary."
  
Relatively small at 108kg and 181cm, Ishii is famous for his no-holds-barred style which has displeased purists for whom perfect execution of techniques is imperative.
  
Riner, a master of dynamic leg throws at 129 kg and 204cm, said: "I have only Beijing in my head and I now know what needs to be done to be ready."
  
The Caribbean-born Riner, also the 2007 European champion, was advised by Douillet when he beat Tmenov to become the youngest-ever world champion at 18 in Rio De Janeiro last September.
  
Japan dominated the Athens tatami with a record haul of eight golds but barely retained the top spot with only three each at the world championships in 2005 and last year.
  
Japan's Olympic squad include seven newcomers and seven veterans.
  
Of them, six are Athens gold medalists: Suzuki, Masato Uchishiba (men 66kg), Maki Tsukada (women over-78kg), Masae Ueno (women 70kg), Ayumi Tanimoto (women 63kg) and Ryoko Tani (women 48kg).
  
Riner leads France's comeback from a title drought in Athens where the other golds went to Belarus, China, Georgia, Germany, Greece and South Korea. France won two world titles in Rio.
  
But Riner lost to world open champion Yasuyuki Muneta at the Hamburg Super Cup in February. Muneta bowed to Ishii at the nationals and the open class is not on the Olympic programme.
  
Ishii has won 18 straight bouts since stepping up to the over-100kg late last year, sweeping the Austria and Kazakh Open titles.
  
His rivals also include Tmenov, Athens bronze medalist Dennis van der Geest of the Netherlands and two world bronze winners, Lasha Guyejiani of Georgia and Brazilian Juan Schilittler.
  
Ishii said he was not worried "at all" about bigger judokas.
  
"I work out harder than anybody else from morning to night. I only think about getting stronger through patience and self-control."

Date created : 2008-07-29

COMMENT(S)