Ex-wrestler gives Mongolia first gold in judo
Mongolian wrestler-turned-judoka Tuvshinbayar Naidan upset a string of more fancied opponents to win the men's 100kg title on Thursday and give the windswept central Asian nation its first Olympic gold medal.
Twenty-four year-old Naidan, who switched to judo in 2000, used a traditional Mongolian wrestling technique to humble Athens heavyweight champion Keiji Suzuki in their opening bout, and then trounced Kazakhstan's Ashkat Zhitkeyev in the final.
"There are no words that can describe my happiness," Naidan told reporters. "After winning this gold my first thought is to thank my parents, my coach and all the people who have supported me in the past."
While not lacking in skill or technique, the burly Mongolian's success was largely built on brute strength and determination.
After arrogantly throwing Suzuki off the tatami for ippon and automatic victory, Naidan bullied, barged and bruised his way to the final where a hapless Zhitkeyev was the victim of three scoring throws.
Mongolia, wedged between Russia and China, has a population of only around three million. It is probably best known as the home of 13th century warrior Genghis Khan.
Last edited by waza; 08-18-2008 at 05:23 AM.
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