Wang strikes gold at judo tourney in Azerbaijan

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Wang strikes gold at judo tourney in Azerbaijan

Wang Ki-chun started the 2011 season in fine form as he placed first at the World Judo Masters tournament in Baku, Azerbaijan yesterday.

The 2008 Beijing Summer Games gold medalist and top-ranked judoka in the -73 kilogram division (161 pounds) defeated Mansur Isaev of Russia in the finals to earn his first gold of the 2011 season.

Wang had won all three previous matches against Isaev leading up to the tournament and was able to sneak out a close win in extra time.

The 23-year-old Yongin University senior lost to Hiroyuki Akimoto in the finals of the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games to earn a silver medal, but closed off the 2010 season by placing first at the Korea World Cup judo tournament in Suwon, Gyeonggi.

Wang was aggressive and dominant at the World Masters tourney in Baku yesterday. As the top-ranked judoka in his weight class, Wang got a bye in the first round and went on to defeat quality opponents Nick Delpopolo of the U.S. in the second round. Next he took on World Championship silver medalist Dex Elmont of the Netherlands in the quarterfinals before defeating Awano Yasuhiro of Japan in the semifinals.

Wang had suffered a surprising defeat at the hands of Yasuhiro in the second round of the 2010 World Masters tourney in Suwon, Gyeonggi from Jan. 16 to Jan. 17.

“There are many good competitors here so I did not concentrate on one more than any other,” Wang was quoted saying on the IJF Web site. “But of course, if you have lost to someone in the past you don’t forget it, and perhaps you approach the next match-up with increased motivation.”

Next up on the International Judo Federation calendar is the Men’s World Cup tournament in Tbilisi, Georgia (Jan. 29 to 30) and the Paris Grand Slam tournament on Feb. 5 and Feb. 6.

By Jason Kim []
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