08/06/2009 18:17 +0300
| TENNIS |
Judo means "the gentle way"
in Japanese. Of course, it is derived in part from jujitsu,
the hand-to-hand combat technique of ancient samurai
warriors, and everything is relative. While throwing
opponents to the floor wins most matches, it is the only
Olympic sport where submission holds allow choking an
opponent or breaking an arm.
Developed by Dr Jigoro Kano
in the 1880s, the sport broke into the Olympic Games in 1964
at Tokyo. The host country could add one sport, and Japan
chose judo. Four weight classes were established, and
Japanese entries promptly won three.
However, in the fourth, the
open class, a 1.98-metre Dutchman named Anton Geesink
defeated three-time Japanese national champion Kaminaga Akio
before 15,000 people at Nippon Budokan Hall. And then he
beat him again. It followed victories earlier in the year
over other top Japanese opponents, deeply bruising the
theory that a skilled judoka could defeat any opponent of
Men and women compete in
seven weight classes each, and 400 judoka competed at the
Sydney 2000 Games. Men's contests last five minutes. Women's
contests last four.
Judoka compete in a
single-elimination tournament after being divided into two
pools by a draw. An unusual twist is that two bronze medals
are awarded. To determine them, all judoka who lose to one
of the two pools' semi-finalists fall into a further
single-elimination bracket within the same groups. The
winner in each of those groups faces the runner-up of the
opposite group in the matches for bronze.
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