BEIJING, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Irakli Tsirekidze claimed Georgia’s second gold medal in judo on Wednesday, defeating Amar Benikhlef of Algeria in the final of the men’s 90-kg category.
World champion Tsirekidze won by a mere technicality in the end, with neither judoka able to score in a tense battle.
After a cagey few moments at the start of the bout, the referee penalised Benikhlef for passivity, the Algerian appearing marginally more reluctant to engage in battle than his opponent.
The one-point penalty turned out to be crucial in the end, with neither Benikhlef nor Tsirekidze able to score, despite a series of increasingly frantic exchanges as the clock wound down.
The Olympic title caps off a rich vein of form for 26-year-old Tsirekidze, who beat Athens champion Ilias Iliadis in the final of the world championships last year and came third in the European championships.
Benikhlef’s surprise final appearance gave Algeria their first male Olympic medallist.
Egypt’s Hesham Mesbah made light work of his bronze medal bout with Yves-Matthieu Dafreville of France, throwing the Frenchman for ippon to win automatically.
Sergei Aschwanden of Switzerland mounted a sublime counter-attack to beat Russia's Ivan Pershin for the other bronze, twisting him around his waist for ippon. (Editing by Alex Richardson) (For more stories visit our multimedia website "Road to Beijing" at here; and see our blog at blogs.reuters.com/china)
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