Paralympic Games
7-18 September

Five things we learned about judo at Rio 2016

Here is what we now know after three days of judo in Carioca Arena 3. 11 Sep 2016
Sherzod Namozov UZB (white) battles with Makoto Hirose JPN during the Men -60 kg Gold Medal bout

Sherzod Namozov UZB (white) battles with Makoto Hirose JPN during the Men -60 kg Gold Medal bout

ⒸThomas Lovelock for OIS/IOC.

1. Uzbekistan’s judokas are a force to be reckoned with.


Uzebekistan’s judokas are now the ones to beat after the nation was a surprise winner in the overall medal count.


Ten judo medals, three of them gold, demonstrated the remarkable strength in depth of the Uzbekistan squad.


In newly crowned Paralympic champions Sherzod Namozov (-60kg), Utkirjon Nigmatov (-66kg) and Adiljan Tuledibaev (+100kg), Uzbekistan have a line-up that will strike fear into the opposition at any upcoming team events.


2. Brazil’s Tenorio may not be finished yet.


It wasn’t quite the fairy-tale ending Brazil’s four-time Paralympic Champion Antonio Tenorio hoped for, but the silver medal the 45-year-old won at his home Games still classes as a remarkable achievement.


Tenorio has now been on the podium at six consecutive Paralympic Games. While he had previously implied Rio 2016 would be his final games, in a post-competition interview he refused to rule out an appearance at Tokyo 2020.


“If I have the condition for Tokyo, I’ll be there,” he said. “If not, I’ll stop after the World Championships.”


3. China’s Yanping Yuan is the undisputed over 100kg champion.


Three Paralympic Games, three gold medals, plus a World Championship title – can anyone stop China’s Yanping Yuan?


Yuan made her third consecutive Paralympic gold look effortless, and even implied afterwards that she was not at her best during the final fight against Uzbekistan’s Khayitjon Alimova. If that is really the case, her opponents should be extremely worried.


4. Romania’s Alex Bologa is one to watch.


Alex Bologa arrived at Rio 2016 as a wildcard entry, but the Romanian leaves as a bronze medallist. The result confirms the 20-year-old as a star of the future in the men’s up to 60kg competition.


Bologa showed a distinct lack of fear in Rio as he secured a shock victory against Algeria’s reigning world champion Mouloud Noura on his way to bronze.


“I was confident I had a chance,” Bologa said after the medals ceremony. “I fought to the last second. It’s a great joy and I am very happy.”


5. Ukraine’s Inna Cherniak relishes the big occasions.


Shy away from the tatatmi, Ukraine’s Inna Cherniak is a fierce competitor on it.


Even in the face of loud support for her Brazilian opponent Lucia Araujo, Cherniak kept her composure to win gold in the up to 57kg final.


After losing the 2015 World Championships final to South Korea’s Hana Seo, Cherniak has since won every major final in which she has competed, proving she knows how to win when it matters most.