Top judoka on his way to Beijing

Judoka Ilias Iliadis, a gold medalist at the Athens Olympics in 2004, qualified for next summer’s Beijing Olympics after winning a silver medal at the World Championships in the 100-kilogram category. Along the way to his silver medal performance in Tbilisi, the Greek judoka’s opponents included Russian Ruslan Gasimov, the European champion in 2006, and Slovenian Primoz Ferjan, as well as Georgian Levan Razmanje. Iliadis has spearheaded a recent rise in the popularity of judo in Greece. His gold medal at the Athens Olympics, Greece’s first in the sport, prompted a considerable number of youngsters to sign up at newly launched clubs around the country, while also helping concerned parents shed fears about the martial art. Besides Iliadis, the Greek national team is hoping that other team members will make their presence felt at the Beijing Olympics.