Judo bronze is Korea’s first medalKorea has won its first medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics, scoring a bronze in judo.
In the men’s under-60-kilogram category, world champion Choi Min-ho beat Iranian Masoud Haji Akhondzade in 53 seconds for the second bronze Saturday, after beating German Oliver Gussenberg in the repechage. The judo matches were held at Ano Liossia Olympic Hall.
In the quarterfinal, Choi lost to Mongolian Khashbaatar Tsagaanbaatar. It was a major upset; the landlocked country is relatively unknown on the international judo scene, although it does boast a strong wrestling tradition.
“All my muscles were stiff and my arms were unmanageable, but I never gave up,” Choi said.
Choi had waited for four years to compete in the Olympics, having failed to make the team for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
In the first round, Choi beat European champion Ludwig Paischer after being hit with a point loss for inactivity.
In the last minute, however, the Korean scored against the Austrian, but he had consumed too much energy and his right leg was becoming numb.
Choi appeared to be exhausted after the first round and lost to the Mongolian, whom he had easily defeated in a friendly match held in Korea a month ago.
In the final, Tadahiro Nomura of Japan won his third gold medal in his third successive Olympics. Kheragiani Nestor of Georgia won the silver.
North Korea’s Pak Nam-choi was eliminated in the same category in the round of 32, or the first round, after losing to Lounifi Anis of Tunisia.
by Limb Jae-un
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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