This division is the one the Paris crowd has been waiting all week long for. Teddy Riner was expected to blitz all opposition and win the gold for France. His main challengers were Japan’s Keiji Suzuki of Japan, an Olympic and double World Champion who had taken Riner to time in the Baku World Masters earlier in the year and lost by a hantei; and Andreas Toelzer of Germany who had lost to Riner by a yuko in the final of the 2010 World Championships.
Fifth-seeded Abdullo Tangriev of Uzbekistan and Daiki Kamikawa of Japan, who had beaten Riner in the 2008 Olympics and 2010 World Championships respectively, were possible stumbling blocks to the mighty Frenchman.
Riner, as expected, rose to the top of Pool A with little problem. There was an upset in Pool B, when Kamikawa was defeated in the first round by Holland’s Grim Vuijsters (seeded 20th), who was then beaten by South Korean’s Kim Sung-Min. Kim rose to the top of Pool B by defeating three-time World Champion Alexander Mikhailin. Meanwhile, Pool C was won by the up-and-coming Oscar Brayson of Cuba. Over in Pool D, Suzuki failed to get past the large Iranian Mohammad Rodaki, who beat him on penalties. Toelzer beat Rodaki in the quarter-final to top Pool D.
Germany’s Toelzer did not look particular strong in his fight against Cuba’s Brayson, with both men seemingly content to fight a strategic battle of grips. Neither one wanted to put in a genuine attack, perhaps fearful that the other could counter it. In the last minute, perhaps in an attempt to stave off a shido, the Cuban came in with an unconvincing drop technique that had him on all fours. Toelzer seized the opportunity to do groundwork, rolled Brayson onto his back and pinned him for ippon. He was through to the final.
Riner towered over Kim and the difference in size was obvious. Kim was back-pedaling when Riner came in with a massive osoto-gari that literally had the Korean airborne for a moment. Riner would be meeting Toelzer in the final.
Bronze Medal Matches
Russia’s Mikhailyn, who was making a comeback did not look impressive at all in his bronze medal fight against Cuba’s Brayson. It was as battle of grips and a contest of penalties. Midway through the contest, the Russian managed to counter the Cuban for a solid waza-ari score but he squandered that lead through penalties. By the end of five minutes, both men were even at a waza-ari each. Instead of trying to throw the Cuban, Mikhailyn played a tactical game that worked. Brayson received another shido, which mean a yuko score for his opponent. The bronze went to Russia.
Kim of Korea looked tiny compared to Iran’s Rodaki whose dominant gripping style caused Kim to step off the mat and incur a shido. The Korean fought back with several attacks while the Iranian parried them off. A slowish uchimata-makikomi worked though and he was able to pin the Iranian to the ground for ippon. Korea wins the other bronze.
The final of the men’s +100kg division was what the Paris crowd came to see and it was the ideal final – a rematch of the +100kg final in the 2010 Tokyo World Championships.
Toelzer had clearly been studying Riner and adopted a left-handed grip on Riner’s right shoulder that negated most of the Frenchman’s forward attacks. After a few failed attempts at such attacks, Riner simply changed the direction of his attack and with an ouchi-gari, took Toelzer down, flat on his back. Ippon!
RINER, Teddy (FRA) vs. TOELZER, Andreas (GER)
RINER, Teddy (FRA) vs. KIM, Sung-Min (KOR)
BRAYSON, Oscar (CUB) vs. TOELZER, Andreas (GER)
Bronze Medal Fights
MIKHAYLIN, Alexander (RUS) vs. BRAYSON, Oscar (CUB)
RODAKI, Mohammad (IRI) vs. KIM, Sung-Min (KOR)
BOR, Barna (HUN) vs. MIKHAYLIN, Alexander (RUS)
JABALLAH, Faical (TUN) vs. RODAKI, Mohammad (IRI)
1. RINER, Teddy (FRA)
2. TOELZER, Andreas (GER)
3. MIKHAYLIN, Alexander (RUS)
3. KIM, Sung-Min (KOR)
5. BRAYSON, Oscar (CUB)
5. RODAKI, Mohammad (IRI)
7. BOR, Barna (HUN)
7. JABALLAH, Faical (TUN)