Iliadis beats Nishiyama for 90-kg world title

by and

Kyodo News

Daiki Nishiyama failed to conquer Athens Olympic champion Ilias Iliadis in the men’s 90-kg final Friday, leaving Japan’s men without a top podium finish on the second day of action at the World Judo Championships.

After just two days, the men have more medals than the two they brought home in Rotterdam, Netherlands, last year, but the gold eluded them after Takamasa Anai got the team off to a stellar start with his victory at 100 kg on Thursday.

Though not quite redemption, it is still an improvement from winning no golds at last year’s worlds with three days of competition remaining at Yoyogi National Gymnasium.

Nishiyama, who was making his debut, battled it out in regulation to a scoreless draw with the Greek to force the match into overtime as neither man could find the technique for the kill. But Iliadis reached down in his energy reserves in the golden score period, deploying a sweeping wrap-around throw for an ippon.

Japan’s Masahiro Takamatsu lost on points in the semifinals at 81 kg to Kim Jae Bung of South Korea before taking third by beating Elnur Mammadli of Azerbaijan in the bronze-medal match with an “osotogari” outer leg sweep.

In the final, Kim beat Leandro Guilheiro of Brazil with a perfectly executed “ouchigari” for ippon in overtime to claim his first world title after settling for bronze last year.

Yoriko Kunihara, who was aiming for her first world title at 70 kg, fell to Lucie Decosse of France in the semis, but battled it out against Cecilia Blanco of Spain to claim bronze. Decosse took the gold after pinning Anett Meszaros of Spain in the final.

Earlier, Takashi Ono suffered an upset in the men’s 90 kg to Iliadis in his third match. Ono got through his first two matches in the preliminary round only to fall to Iliadis on a yuko point.

“I had confidence and trained hard for this tournament,” Ono said. “But I felt from the first match that I wasn’t moving the way I should. I don’t really know what it was that was missing. I am really upset with myself because I was moving better than last year and was on a better pace. I don’t feel at all like I was a favorite to win a medal.”

Takahiro Nakai lost by ippon in the men’s 81 kg to Guilheiro in his third match of the day. Silver medalist Guilheiro bounced Nakai with a “seoinage” throw.