La quête du poids lourd français Teddy Riner pour une troisième médaille d'or olympique consécutive en judo, un record, s'est terminée vendredi avec une étrange défaite contre l'athlète russe Tamerlan Bashaev en quart de finale. </p><div> <p>Le Riner de 2,04 m (6 pieds 8 pouces) a perdu 29 secondes dans le score d'or lorsqu'il est tombé sur le dos alors qu'il tentait de lancer Bashaev de 1,75 m (5 pieds 9 pouces), qui a reçu le crédit d'un waza ari on un lancer de sumi-otoshi après examen vidéo.
Riner, sporting a beard and a shaved head, appeared confused by the decision, and he did not speak to reporters afterwards.
The move ended the ten-time world champion’s attempt to equal the Olympic record for three consecutive gold medals set by Japan’s Tadahiro Nomura from 1996 to 2004. He won a bronze medal in Beijing.
Riner will take part in a draft competition, facing Brazilian Rafael Silva in the afternoon session which starts at 0800 GMT, but the best he can hope for is bronze.
“This is not the expected result… but there is still an Olympic medal to be won,” Riner tweeted after the quarter-final.
Physically intimidating and charismatically competitive, Riner was the most dominant judo player of the past decade. He spent 10 years between defeats while racking up annual world championships against opponents unable to keep up with his size and athleticism.
But the 32-year-old has finally become more accessible in recent years, and his 152-game winning streak ended in February 2020 with a loss to Japan’s Kokoro Kageura in Paris. He also recently revealed that he had injured his knee earlier in the year.
Riner has competed so little in the past two years that he arrived in Tokyo seedless. He won his first two fights against Austria’s Stephan Hegyi and Israeli Or Sasson, but both caused problems for the once dominant Riner before Bashaev put an end to the Frenchman’s gold medal aspirations.
Bashaev was European champion in 2020 and won silver at the world championships last month in Budapest before registering the biggest victory of his career to date in the Tokyo quarter-finals.
The 25-year-old Chechen lost the world championship final to Kageura, who doesn’t even fight at the Olympics. The Japanese team ignored him to send Hisayoshi Harasawa, who also qualified for the semi-finals.
Riner faces Brazilian Rafael Silva in the draft in the evening session on the final day of individual Olympic judo competition.
(FRANCE 24 with AP and REUTERS)