TOKYO: Nora Gjakova brought some semblance of joy to Kosovo by winning their second Tokyo Olympics judo gold medal on Monday.
With her country in mourning following the death of 10 people in a road accident on Sunday, the 28-year-old Gjakova took the title with an ippon victory over France’s Sarah-Leonie Cysique in the women’s 57kg division.
She joined Distria Krasniqi, who took the 48kg crown on Saturday, as the second and third gold medallists in Kosovo’s Olympic history. Majlinda Kelmendi won the first at Rio de Janeiro in 2016, also in judo.
“On this mourning day for our people, Nora Gjakova brought light to Kosovo,” President Vjosa Osmani posted on Facebook upon returning from Japan after cutting short her trip due to the accident. “Our judokas are reaching the heights many countries have dreamed of. They are the best epithet of modern Kosovo,” she said.
Gjakova had reached the final with a shock victory over Japan’s Tsukasa Yoshida.
POZDNIAKOVA CONTINUES FAMILY TRADITION
Sofia Pozdniakova continued a family tradition of winning Olympic gold on Monday, following in her father’s footsteps with a victory in sabre fencing, while Cheung Ka Long won the second gold in Hong Kong’s history.
The Russian Olympic Committee is the name for Russia at the Tokyo Olympics and the committee itself has been prominent.
Pozdniakova’s father, Stanislav Pozdnyakov, is a four-time gold medalist in fencing and the president of the ROC. Her opponent in the final, fellow Russian Sofya Velikaya, is an ROC officeholder too. She chairs the athletes’ commission.
The final was tied 10-10 before Pozdniakova pulled ahead, marking key points with ever-louder roars of triumph.
Cheung beat defending champion Italian Daniele Garozzo to take the Olympic men’s individual fencing title on Monday, also bringing home the first medal in the event for his country.
JELIC DOWNS BRITON WILLIAMS
In an exciting Olympic taekwondo final in the women’s -67kg category on Monday, Croatia’s Matea Jelic converted a three-point deficit into a lead to take the gold medal away from Briton Lauren Williams with less than 10 seconds left on the clock.
In the men’s -80kg category, Russian Maksim Khramtcov defeated Jordanian and close friend Saleh Elsharabaty to claim gold.
Elsewhere, Benjamin Savsek won Slovenia’s first gold medal in the men’s canoe slalom after barrelling down the white-water course in Tokyo almost four seconds ahead of his nearest rival, Lukas Rohan from the Czech Republic.
At the Asaka Shooting Range, Vincent Hancock became an Olympic champion for the third time as he and Amber English helped the United States sweep the skeet gold medals.
Published in Dawn, July 27th, 2021