HISTORIC: Slovenian claims country’s first Olympic judo title
URSKA Zolnir won Slovenia's first ever Olympic judo title yesterday when she beat China's Xu Lili in the women's under-63kg final.
The 30-year-old scored a decisive waza-ari half point early in the bout with a dropping shoulder throw (seoi-nage) that even looked worthy of an ippon, a technical knockout, which would have ended the fight there and then.
World No 1 Yoshie Ueno won Japan's second women's medal of the Games with a narrow win over Mongolia's Munkhzaya Tsedevsuren by a penalty for bronze.
World champion Gevrise Emane of France joined her on the podium as she beat South Korean Joung Da-Woon for the other bronze medal.
Urska, a bronze medallist in Athens eight years ago, was in sensational and brutal form all day, arm-locking her first three opponents to force submissions.
In the semi-final she came up against Munkhzaya, who had just upset Gevrise in the quarter-final.
The two locked up in a winner-takes-all clinch and Urska managed to lift the Mongolian off the ground and twist in mid-air to bring her crashing down onto her back.
There was a hint of an illegal leg wrap-around in her technique but the referees missed it and she stormed into the final.
Urska, the 2009 European champion, always looked the more likely in the final and several times seemed just a hint of precision away from felling Lili, the Asian champion in 2011.
When the decisive score came, it looked worthy of an ippon but the bout went on and Urska easily saw it through.
Top seed and double world champion Yoshie was sent crashing out in the quarter-finals to eighth seed Da-Woon.
Yoshie had comfortably overcome her first two opponents, Garima Chaudhary of India and Croatia's Marijana Miskovic but she came unstuck against the dogged Da-Woon.
The Korean was left empty-handed after she was edged out by Lili in the semi-final by a sigle penalty and then lost out on a judges' decision to Gevrise for bronze.
Lili had beaten Brazil's Mariana Silva with a sweeping, winding throw (harai-maki-komi) before she pinned Italy's Edwige Gwend and then overcame Elisabeth Willeboordse by the maximum ippon.
Munkhzaya had been impressive in her route to the semis, strangling Palau's Jennifer Anson before throwing Johanna Ykinen of Finland with a shoulder wheel (koshi-guruma).
Both Yoshie and Gevrise, the top two in the world and finalists at last year's World Championships, had to come through the repechage system to win their medals. AFP