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Olympic revelation Cheng bids to become China’s first male world judo champion
10 Aug 2017 15:05
China’s Cheng Xunzhao may have won bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympics, but he left Brazil as one of its biggest winners. The 26-year-old ippon-seoi-nage specialist was unseeded at the Games and took part with little in the way of expectations or fanfare from his country. Whether or not he will compete in Budapest is the big question; he is not on the registration list yet.
Not only did Cheng become the first male judoka from China to win an Olympic judo medal but he left the crowd in awe as he defeated all-time great Ilias Iliadis (GRE), World silver medallist Toth Krisztian (HUN) and the dangerous Marcus Nyman (SWE), all by ippon and all by his devastating seoi-nage.
After a last-minute semi-final loss to eventual Olympic champion Baker Mashu (JPN) the Chinese judoka bounced back to edge out Lkhagvasuren Otgonbaatar (MGL) for a historic medal.
Cheng’s sole outing since Rio saw him eclipse his peers in Paris to win his first Grand Slam and his ippon judo and untapped talent makes him one of the favourites for U90kg gold in Budapest.
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Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Cheng Xunzhao showed this Olympic heroics were not down to goof fortune as he performed just as well in Paris to win his first Grand Slam gold medal. Cheng, who was unseeded and unheralded going into the Games, had a Qingdao Grand Prix gold medal from 2012 to his name until Rio 2016. Read more
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. Read more
Jessica Santos (BRA)
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