RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Italy’s Fabio Basile, ranked 29th in his weight class, stunned top seed An Baul of South Korea to win gold in the men’s -66kg judo at the Rio Olympics on Sunday.
The 21-year-old had been on fire all day, winning his first three contests by ippon - judo’s equivalent of a knockout - including beating second-ranked Tumurkhuleg Davaadorj of Mongolia.
World champion An had also been on a tear, overcoming Japanese ace Masashi Ebinuma to reach the final, but he was no match for Basile who tossed him for an ippon to put an exclamation point on his victory.
Ebinuma and Uzbekistan’s Rishod Sobirov won bronze.
Ebinuma’s medal was his country’s fourth in judo so far in Rio — all bronze — making Japan the current medal leader in the sport.
But even that may be lacking by Japanese standards as the country’s ultimate goal is to improve on their dismal showing of just one gold in London four years ago.
Reporting by Chris Gallagher; editing by Ken Ferris