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Fabio Basile breaks all expectations and grabs Olympic judo gold

8 Aug 2016 00:05

   IJF Media Team / International Judo Federation
20160807_IJF_JW_Fabio Basile

What a stunning surprise at the Olympic Games where Italy's Fabio Basile won the gold medal in the men’s U66kg division. The number 29th in his weight class stunned top seed An Baul of South Korea in the final of the best ever day in judo for Italy where also Odette Giuffrida won silver for women U52kg. At this legendary you could see from the start that Fabio Basile had it all today.

The Olympic flow started with a victory over Sebastian Seidl, also considered as an outsider, but Basile proceeded and knocked out Nijat Shikhalizada (AZE) in a pool of death. The whole day Basile sold himself as top seed while very few expected him on the podium, but he convinced with amazing and gutsy judo. The bronze medallist of the European Championships this year is creative and showed he could beat world athletes such as Tumurkhuleg Davaadorj of Mongolia in the quarter final. The semi final was a surprising one, as no one had predicted a semi between Basile and Adrian Gomboc of Slovenia, coached by 2012 Olympic Champion Urska Zolnir. Basile, coached by double Olympian Paolo Bianchessi. He knew what it takes not to convert a semi final into a medal and Basile picked up everything, the cheers, the supporters, the information, the feeling and the gold medal.

The 21-year-old was on fire  with three straight ippons in his first three matches. World champion An was expected to take the title after he beat triple world champion Masashi Ebinuma of Japan, but it went different. Rishod Sobirov won the bronze medal after his victory over Adrian Gomboc, it was the third second for Uzbekistan this tournament and Sobirovs third bronze at the Olympics, in 2012 he won bronze U60kg and so he did in Beijing in 2008. Masashi Ebinuma won bronze afterall by defeating Canadian surprise Antoine Bouchard. Bouchard defeated top favourite Mikhail Pulyaev in his first match. But Pulyaev was not the only surprise of the preliminaries as Golan Pollack, European Champion Vazha Margvelashvili and top seed Georgii Zantaraia went out in their first match. Ebinuma won bronze, same medal as in London in 2012 when he lost to Shavdatuashvili in the semi final.

With gold and silver today for Italy, the Italians lead the medal table in judo, followed by Russia, Argentina and Kosovo, where many thought Japan and Korea would be dominating the tables after two days.

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  • Fabio Basile (ITA) - 2016 Olympic Games day 2 Judo U66kg & U52kg (2016, BRA) - © David Finch,
  • Fabio Basile (ITA), Judo Throws (IJF) - 2016 Olympic Games day 2 Judo U66kg & U52kg (2016, BRA) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation

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