6 years ago: Mashu Baker defeats Varlam Liparteliani in U90kg final
Japanese Mashu Baker became the Olympic Champion, the 21-year old star was the most solid in a race for the gold where many favourites had to leave the Arena earlier than they hoped. Cheng Xunzhao was the surprise of the day winning the bronze medal after knocking out three European medal candidates in the preliminaries. In the semi final he lost to Baker, but came back in the match for bronze against Otgonbaatar Lkhagvasuren of Mongolia who finished fifth.
The one missing is Europes’s best performer in the men’s U90kg category, Varlam Lipartelani. He won all events, in silver. An unfortunate fact but against Baker he simply couldn’t get through with his huge uchimata. As soon as Baker led the match the Japanese closed his defense. The Georgian superstar and current European Champion won World silver in 2013 in Rio as well and bronze in 2014. At the London Olympic Games he couldn’t impress yet. Today Liparteliani was the only who met the expectations qualifying for the final via a fine victory over World Champion gawk Dong-Han who took bronze against Marcus Nyman. Nyman could have become the first Swedish to win the medal ever for his country. Now Chinese Cheng had the honour to become the first male Chinese with a judo medal on the podium. Cheng defeated Iliadis, Toth and Nyman in the preliminaries and for Iliadis it was his last competition. He immediately announced to retire. “This is judo! I can’t say nothing about today, everything is possible, this is the Olympic Games. This is the last competition, it’s time. It’s the competition of my life” Iliadis said to SporTV.
Mashu Baker is crowned as the new champion for the enxt four years and maybe even longer. Baker won bronze at the 2015 World Championships and showcased his shape at the World Masters this year in Mexico where he won this last qualification tournament. With the gold of Haruka Tachimoto, Japan won the double for the first time this week.