September 1 - Judo's campaign to get its team event included on the programme for Rio 2016 received a boost when some of the most influential members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) watched Japan's women and Georgia's men clinch titles at the World Championships here today.
The Commission, which included three of the six candidates to replace Jacques Rogge as IOC President - Sergey Bubka, Richard Carrión and C K Wu - were joined by Carlos Nuzman, President of Rio 2016.
He saw hopes of a home victory in the women's event dashed by defending champions Japan, whose women won their first gold medal of these Championships, thanks to Megumi Tachimoto, bronze medallist in the plus 78 kilogram category, who beat Maria Suelen Altheman, the individual silver medallist, in the final contest with the scores tied at 2-2.
France, thanks to their 3-2 win over the Netherlands, claimed one of the bronze medals with the other going to Cuba who saw off South Korea by the same scoreline.
The stunning comeback was completed by Adam Okruashvili, who beat Alexander Mikhaylin, the three-time world champion and London 2012 silver medallist, in the over 100kg fight to claim a memorable victory.
The bronze medals were won by Germany, who beat Uzbekistan 3-2, and Japan, who crushed South Korea 4-1.
Rogge has claimed that no new disciplines will be added to the programme for Rio 2016 but Vizer remains hopeful that the new President can be persuaded to change their mind.
Fittingly, with Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda, who is also the head of Tokyo's bid to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, in the audience, it left Japan top of the medals table.
They finished with a total of nine medals, including four gold, ahead of France, who won eight, two of them gold, and Cuba, whose three medals included two gold.
Hosts Brazil finished fourth with seven medals, one of them gold.
But Russia, who had finished top at London 2012 with three gold medals, struggled here as they failed to produce a champion and finished down in 14th in the medals table with a silver and two bronze.
Overall, the event was deemed a major success.
"I am very pleased and happy with what I saw today," said Nuzman.
"It was a great competition, with fantastic champions and very well organised.
"Judo is important, very well established in Brazil and in the world, it is big and judo is growing very fast under the leadership of IJF President Marius Vizer.
"This is important."
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Photos © IJF Media by T. Zahonyi and G. Sabau
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