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By Michael Holden
LONDON, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Cuba’s Idalys Ortiz improved on her bronze medal of four years ago to win the women’s Olympic heavyweight judo title on Friday, ending the title holder’s five year unbeaten run in the process.
Ortiz, 22 and world number six, beat Japan’s Mika Sugimoto in the final after she was awarded the win by the referee and two judges as the fight finished scoreless after extra time.
“I have no way to describe how I’m feeling right now,” she told reporters. “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. All I can say is that I feel amazing right now.”
Her route to gold in the +78kg category included a notable victory in the semi-final over China’s Tong Wen, the reigning Olympic champion who had not lost an international fight since 2007.
“I’ve always said nobody’s invincible. I’ve always thought that with anyone, not only Tong Wen, but anyone who competes against me,” Ortiz said.
Cuba traditionally does well in judo, particularly in the women’s categories, but had not won a gold since 2000 in Sydney.
“It was a challenge to keep up Cuba’s results,” she said. “For me, it means a lot (to do that).”
There was also a second medal in two days for Britain when outsider Karina Bryant, competing in her fourth Olympics, won bronze following a silver for Gemma Gibbons. That tally was the host nation’s best judo haul since 1992.
Veteran Bryant, 33, put in a convincing display to beat Iryna Kindzerska of Ukraine to the delight of the crowd at London’s ExCel Centre.
“It feels amazing. I’m over the moon, bit lost for words really. I’ve just kept believing in myself. I never doubted my potential,” she told reporters.
“It was nice to share this experience with a British crowd.”
China’s Tong beat Brazil’s Maria Suelen Altheman for the other bronze. (Editing by Alison Williams)