Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Silver medalist vows to win next time
ATHENS, Greece -- Two-time defending champion Masae Ueno
earned Japan's fifth gold medal in 10 judo events on Wednesday,
extending her three-year undefeated streak in major international
competition with an Olympic victory.
"I lost the gold medal in Sydney and I had to wait a long time
to try again,'' Ueno said after defeating Edith Bosch of
Netherlands. "I was prepared to fight for the gold medal but now
that I won, the feeling is unbelievable.''
Ueno was a heavy favorite in the 70kg class, and her showdown
with Bosch was a contrast in styles and builds. Short and stocky
Ueno used her low center of gravity against the taller and thinner
Bosch, taking the Dutch athlete down about two minutes into the
Bosch was in tears after settling for the silver, and vowed
revenge. "I'm telling you, I'm going to beat her the next
opportunity I get,'' Bosch said. Missing from the competition was
defending world silver medalist, Regla Zulueta, who could not
compete after defecting to the United States last year from Cuba.
The bronze was shared by Annett Boehm of Germany and Qin Dongya
On the men's side, Ueno's teammate Hiroshi Izumi wound up with
silver when he was defeated in the men's 90kg title match by Zurab
Zviadauri of Georgia.
As Izumi moved to get position, Zviadauri picked the Japanese
competitor up, held him aloft, and then tossed him down. The gold
medal came after the Georgian had lost in the last two world
championships after holding the upper hand.
"When I arrived in Greece, I was well aware of the fact that
Georgia had not won a gold medal in 12 years,'' Zviadauri said.
"That is why I saw a great possibility for myself. I dedicate my
medal to Georgia.''
He became the second Georgian-born competitor to win gold in
judo in two days -- although Illias Iliadis won for Greece on
Tuesday in the men's 81kg class.
"Of course I am very happy that another Georgian became Olympic
champion, and I congratulate him,'' Zviadauri said.
Khasanbi Taov of Russia took a bronze, along with Mark Huizing
of Netherlands. There are four events remaining in the judo