ARGENTINA AND RUSSIA CELEBRATE GOLDEN OPENING DAY IN JUDO
GOLDEN OLDIES MAKE IT DAY TO REMEMBER IN RIO
Paula Pareto handed Argentina a golden start to Rio 2016 by coming out on top to win the women’s 48kg judo, becoming the oldest competitor to win a medal in the event in the process.
Pareto beat eventual bronze medallist, Ami Kondo of Japan in the semi-final to set up her final clash with Bo Kyeong – but after picking up her second Olympic medal, having won a silver in Beijing in 2008 – she admitted that she was unsure about her future in the sport.
“I’ve dreamed a lot about this and I’m very happy because of all the people cheering,” she said. “I began with a low performance but I improved my development and I’m very happy to beat a hard contender.
“I have no plans for now. I want to leave judo for the time being.”
It may be scant consolation but Bo Kyeong’s silver medal helped her country to equal the most number of medals won in the 15 different Olympic judo events, a record the Republic of Korea now holds jointly with Japan and France.
Kondo shared her bronze medal with Otgontsetseg Galbadrakh of Kazakhstan, who helped her country win just its second medal in Olympic judo history.
In the men’s 60kg division Russian Beslan Mudranov defeated Yeldos Smetov of Kazakhstan in the gold medal match.
“I don’t know yet, but right now I’m very happy,” he said. “I don’t understand what I’m feeling right now.
“Today I felt OK, so I am at the peak of my career.”
Like Pareto, Mudranov became the oldest medal winner in the event, with the double European champion handing Russia back-to-back golds in the category after Arsen Galstyan won the title in London four years ago.
The bronze medal was also shared, with Naohisa Takato of Japan finishing third alongside Uzbekistan’s Diyorbek Urozbeov.