Iran’s World Championships bronze medallist Vahid Nouri won Iran’s first Paralympic judo gold in the men’s up to 90kg. Nouri just caught Great Britain’s Elliot Stewart with a neat sweep of his foot for ippon in the final. The Iranian reflected on a historic win for Iran:
“This is the first gold medal for Iran in Paralympic judo. Before we got silver, bronze, now this is the first gold. I am so thrilled when my national flag goes up. I live judo.”
Both judoka had an impressive journey to the final including Stewart advancing past Ukrainian world champion Oleksandr Nazarenko.
“It went amazing. I had some hard fights, I had a really tough draw,” Stewart said of his day. “First fight was current Paralympic bronze medallist (Shukhrat BOBOEV, UZB), second fight – world champion, current Paralympic silver medallist (Oleksandr NAZARENKO, UKR). Tough, tough draw, but I knew I’d done the work. I’d done the work at home, I’d done everything I can do.
“I got to the final, I got bested in the final. It was a really good opponent, I just made a bit of a mistake, but I’m pleased with my performance.”
Stewart follows in the footsteps of his 1988 Olympic bronze medallist father.
It is the first time that Iran took the gold medal in the Paralympic Games. Not even the best sportsbooks would have predicted the outcome with Iran even winning two gold medals this event. Iran won bronze in 2004 and one silver medal in 2008 as best results at the Paralympics. This Tokyo edition top all performances with two gold medals for Vahid Nouri and Kheirollahzadeh.
Nouri said: “It’s great. It’s a dream come true for me and for him. He’s always wanted me to do just as well as he has, even better, so I’m sure he’ll be super happy” IBSA Sport reported.
France’s European silver medallist Helios Latchoumanaya showed off his ne-waza against Kazakhstan’s Zhanbota Amanzhol to take bronze. The 21-year-old is a great prospect for the Paris 2024 Paralympics in three years’ time.
Ukraine’s Nazarenko showed his quality to claim the other bronze in under 20 seconds of the start of his match with Brazil’s Arthur Da Silva.