February 9, 2020 / 2:43 PM / 14 days ago

Judo: Frenchman Riner suffers first loss in 10 years

Olympic Judo champion Teddy Riner takes part in a demostration of Judo with Peruvian Judo athletes ahead of the opening of the 131st IOC Session in Lima, Peru September 12, 2017. REUTERS/Guadalupe Pardo

PARIS (Reuters) - France’s double Olympic champion judoka Teddy Riner suffered his first defeat in nearly 10 years on Sunday, losing to Japan’s Kokoro Kageura in the IJF Paris Grand Slam at Bercy.

The 30-year-old heavyweight, who is on the comeback trail following a spell out since winning the Brasilia Grand Slam in October, had won his previous 152 bouts.

His last loss was also at the hands of a Japanese judoka, Kamikawa Daiki, in September 2010.

Riner, the 10-times world champion, defeated Hungarian Richard Sipocz and Austrian Stephan Hegyi in the +100kg category at Bercy but showed signs of rust against world number 10 Kageura.

Having lost to Riner in their first meeting in Montreal last year, Kageura countered his opponent with a uchi-mata-sukashi after 40 seconds of golden score to seal victory and leave local fans stunned.

Riner, who won the Olympic title at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games, is seeking a third gold medal in Tokyo this year to match the record of Japan’s Tadahiro Nomura.

“The goal is to win at the Olympics in Tokyo and to be extremely good on D-Day,” Riner said.

“This defeat is a failure but it will show me what I have to work on. It’s also a relief because I had been under tremendous pressure to always win for 10 years.”

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond

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