LONDON (Reuters) - South Korean Kim Jae-bum won judo gold in the men’s -81kg category on Tuesday, getting revenge over the fighter who beat him to the Olympic title four years ago.
In a repeat of their clash in Beijing, 27-year-old Kim, the world number two, overcame holder Ole Bischof from Germany thanks to two yuko scores early in the contest.
Bischof, 32, who had been seeking to become the first judoka to win the weight category twice at the Olympics, warmly congratulated his opponent at the end and was magnanimous in defeat.
“Four years ago he was quite young. Now we have four years behind us, I got four years older, he has developed, he has got much stronger and much quicker now and I think he is the correct champion,” he told reporters.
Kim, who said prayer had helped get through the tournament after he injured his left shoulder, also heaped praise on his beaten rival.
“I didn’t see any indication of him getting older in terms of his physical strength or power,” he said. “I really wanted to compete against Bischof again. I wanted to put everything into this match.”
Their camaraderie contrasted sharply with ugly scenes during Bischof’s semi-final with American Travis Stevens.
The bout had barely started when Stevens picked up a facial injury which required a bandage to be strapped around his head and shortly after both fighters exchanged angry words.
“We interpreted the rules very creatively. I have been in judo for long time and really something like that does not happen,” Bischof said, suggesting Stevens needed to explain how the clash had descended into more of a scrap.
Judo chiefs described the battle between Bischof and Stevens as “one of the hardest contests in judo history”.
“Both men threw everything at the fight, attacking relentlessly, and were still doing so as golden score came to an end,” the International Judo Federation said.
The day ended badly for a dejected Stevens, who had earlier put out the world number one, when he lost his bronze medal bout to Canadian Antoine Valois-Fortier.
The Canadian earned his country’s first judo medal since the Sydney Games in 2000.
Russia’s Ivan Nifontov, the 2009 world champion, continued his country’s success on the judo mat by winning the other bronze to add to the two gold medals they have already taken in London.
Editing by Peter Rutherford