POSTED: 6:19 a.m. HST, Jul 31, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 9:07 a.m. HST, Jul 31, 2012
LONDON >> South Korea and Slovenia won their first judo gold medals of the London Games today.
In the women's division, Urska Zolnir of Slovenia won the women's 63-kilogram class, defeating Xu Lili of China in a combative final where both fighters were almost constantly on the offensive. Zolnir managed to throw Xu once in the match's first minute, which was ultimately enough to win.
Zolnir, 31, was one of the oldest competitors in the division. She won a bronze at the 2004 Athens Games and came seventh at Beijing four years ago. Zolnir focused mainly on grappling techniques on Tuesday, pinning down her opponents throughout the day.
The bronze medals were won by Yoshie Ueno of Japan and Gevrise Emane of France.
In the men's 83-kilogram division, Kim Jae-bum of South Korea improved on the silver he won in Beijing by winning the gold.
Kim defeated Ole Bischof of Germany in a final he dominated from the start. Kim threw Bischof twice and was often on the attack, even when both were locked in grappling techniques on the ground.
Kim is the current judo world champion. His gold added to South Korea's judo medal tally; teammate Cho Jun-ho won a bronze in the lightweight men's division earlier this week.
The bronze medals were won by Ivan Nifontov of Russia and Antoine Valois-Fortier of Canada.
After winning a judo gold Monday, there was more disappointment for Japan, the country that invented the sport. None of its athletes managed to make the medals podium today despite being viewed as favorites going into the competition.
American judoka Travis Stevens fought several grueling matches to make it to the semifinals, where he lost to Bischof. By that fight's end, Stevens had several bandages wrapped around his head. He lost in the repechage bronze medal match to Valois-Fortier.