Greek star Ilias Iliadis claimed his third world title in the under-90kg category in Chelyabinsk on Friday as Brazilian Mayra Aguiar and Colombian Yuri Alvear won gold in the women’s under-78kg and under-70kg divisions respectively.
Iliadis is one of the biggest stars in judo due to his all-action attacking style and he didn’t disappoint as he stormed to the gold medal, defeating Hungary’s Krisztian Toth in the final.
The Georgian-born Greek fighter, who changed his name from Jarji Zviadauri when he moved to Greece, first announced himself to the world as a precocious teenager when he won Olympic gold in Athens in 2004.
However, it was six years before he would win another major title as he took silver medals in the world championships in 2005 and 2007.
But he won back-to-back world titles in 2010 and 2011 and having taken bronze at the London Games has now earnt his third world crown, throwing Toth for ippon after just two minutes of the final.
European champion Varlam Liparteliani of Georgia and Russias Kirill Voprosov took the bronze medals.
Colombian Alvear matched Iliadis’s achievement by retaining her world title to add to the crown she first claimed in Rotterdam in 2009.
She made short work of Japan’s Karen Nun Ira in the final, securing victory in one minute.
Cubas Onix Cortes Aldama and Katarzyna Klys of Poland completed the podium line-up.
Aguiar defeated Frenchwoman Audrey Tcheumeo, world champion in 2011 on home soil, in the under-78kg final.
Tcheumeo had been favourite to defeat Aguiar, three times previously a medallist, but the Brazilian struck with a low tai-otoshi (body drop) for the winning half-point waza-ari score.
Tcheumeo, who after winning bronze at the London Olympics had said she was going to take up tennis instead, took bronze in Rio last year so she completed the set with silver this time around.
Olympic champion Kayla Harrison of the US and Slovenias Anamari Velensek won the bronze medals.
Japan still top the medals table but won just a single medal for the second day in a row and have now gone two days without a gold medal.
Georgia are just behind France in second but no-one other than Japan, with four, has claimed more than a single gold.
That should change on Saturday as the sport’s premier star Teddy Riner of France goes for his seventh world title.
If he manages it, he would match the achievement of Japanese legend Ryoko Tani, who has a cartoon dedicated to her in her homeland and reigned supreme at under-48kg throughout the 1990s. [AFP]