North Korean pulls off shock victory at World Championships as French legend retires

Friday, 30 August 2013
By Duncan Mackay at the Maracanãzinho in Rio de Janeiro

France's London 2012 champion Lucie Decosse ended her career by just failing to win a medal at the World Championships in Rio de JaneiroAugust 30 - North Korea's Kyong Sol produced one of the biggest surprises of the judo World Championships here as she claimed the gold medal in the under 78 kilogram class as the curtain came down on the glorious career of France's Lucie Decosse.

The 32-year-old from Chaumont, the London 2012 Olympic champion, who had been aiming for a third consecutive world title in the under 70kg section here, following victories at Tokyo in 2010 and Paris 2011, was beaten in the quarter-finals by Colombia's Yuri Alvear. 

Decosse (pictured top) had beaten Alvear in the quarter-finals of London 2012 so revenge was sweet for the 27-year-old from Cali, who having knocked out the favourite went onto retain the title she had last won at Rotterdam in 2009.

Alvear, who won a bronze medal at London 2012 after going through the repechage, beat Germany's Laura Vargas Koch in the final with an ippon.

Colombia's Yuri Alvear (blue), seen here in her semi-final with South Korea's Ye-Sul Hwang, regained her world title in the under 70kg categoryColombia's Yuri Alvear (blue), seen here in her semi-final with South Korea's Ye-Sul Hwang, regained her world title in the under 70kg category

Decosse's hopes of finishing her career standing on the podium ended when she lost to Seong-Yeon Kim in the bronze medal fight.

"By finishing in fifth-place everybody is looking at me like I won as everybody is crying," said Decosse, who had also won an under 63kg world title at Cairo in 2005 and a silver medal in that category the last time these Championships were held in Rio de Janeiro, in 2007.

"It was a really emotional day for me.

"At the same time I'm still a competitor,

"I'm going home without a medal and I don't like it.

"This morning when I left hotel I never imagined a second where I wouldn't win a medal.

"In my career it won't count having finished fifth and tonight I'm upset.

"The girls were just better than me today.

"It is one of the only times that I've got that impression.

"I took some pleasure today in fighting but I know that I won't come back because judo is hard and it's always necessary to fight and train.

"I gave my last energy tonight and it is time for me stop."

The second bronze medal was won by Netherlands' European champion Kim Polling, who beat another South Korean, Ye-Sul Hwang.

There was plenty of reason for the small group of North Korean fans here to celebrate, however, as 23-year-old Sol beat Marhinde Verkerk, from the Netherlands, in the final.

Sol's run had to the final had started when she beat Hungary's Abigel Joo, the world number two, and also included beating Canada's seven-time Pan American Games medallist Catherine Roberge in the semi-final.

The victory was the fifth gold medal won by a North Korean since the World Championships were launched in 1956 and took them to 15th in the all-time list, moving them ahead of the United States.

North Korea's new champion Kyong Sol cries on the podium during the medal ceremony for the women'sunder 78kg category North Korea's new champion Kyong Sol cries on the podium during the medal ceremony for the women'sunder 78kg category

The bronze medals were won by France's defending champion Audrey Tcheumeo and Brazil's Mayra Aguiar, the fourth consecutive occasion she has stood on the podium in a major event, following a silver and bronze in the 2010 and 2011 World Championships and a bronze at London 2012.   

"My preparation was difficult because I had a knee injury and I wasn't sure if I was going to take part so I'm happy with the medal in that respect," said Tchueumeo, a bronze medallist at London 2012.

"When I compete, I compete to win but it wasn't possible to reach that today."

The men's under 90kg contest saw Cuba's Asley Gonzalez defeat Georgia's world number one and former European champion Varlam Liparteliani. 

Gonzalez enjoyed the support of the local Brazilian fans in a final which saw him penalised for a shido for a false attack and his opponent twice for passivity but in which he hung onto celebrate victory, improving on the silver medal he had won at London 2012.

Cuba's Asley Gonzalez (white) celebrates after defeating Greece's Ilias Iliadis in the men's under 90kg category semi-final on his way to winning the titleCuba's Asley Gonzalez (white) celebrates after defeating Greece's Ilias Iliadis in the men's under 90kg category semi-final on his way to winning the title

Gonzalez had beaten Ilias Iliadis, the Athens 2004 Olympic gold medallist, in the semi-final to end his hopes of a third consecutive title having won at Tokyo in 2010 and Paris 2011.

At the same stage Liparteliani had defeated world number four Kirill Denisov n 88 seconds.

Both Iliadis and Denisov bounced back, though, to claim the bronze medals.

It was the fifth consecutive World Championships Iliadis has won a medal as, besides his two victories, he had also won silvers at Cairo in 2005 and Rio 2007, while for Denisov it was his third medal, having won silver at Rotterdam 2009 and bronze at Tokyo 2010.

To watch the latest action on JudoTV click here.

Contact the writer of this story at duncan.mackay@insidethegames.biz


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