Courageous Ramin Safaviyeh battles to judo gold medal
Ramin Safaviyeh (IRI) produced one of the bravest performances seen so far in the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games judo competition to win the gold medal in the men's -100kg class on Tuesday. SAFAVIYEH was visibly injured but he battled against opponent Rostislav Dashkov (KGZ) for three minutes before pouncing into position for a rear choke hold, which he locked in a strangle, to earn victory by an ippon point.
The Iranian then crawled to the edge of the mat, held his right leg and yelled out in pain, before being carried off on a stretcher. Safaviyeh was later helped up on to the podium by his coaches to collect his gold medal. Dashkov took silver and Domenik Schonefeldt (GER) claimed the lone bronze medal of the weight class.
In the women’s -78kg class, the spirit of the Youth Olympic Games was very much on show, starting with the first bronze medal fight of the day. Sara Rodriguez (ESP) won the contest against Unelle Snyman (RSA) in a bout that came down to penalties. And after the contest, Rodriguez hugged her rival and raised the South African’s arm up as if to announce a victory in a boxing match. “I did it because it was a way to recognise how close the match was,” Rodriguez said. “To show how hard she fought.”
Rodriguez said she considers Sara Rodriguez as a friend as they have trained together before and have spent time together at these Games.
The friendly battles continued in the weight class when Brigita Matic (CRO) defeated Aleksandra Samardzic (BIH) in the gold medal fight. Matic said after the fight that it was her first professional bout against someone she considers a very close friend. “We’ve gotten to know each other well over the years,” Matic said. “It’s hard to fight someone who is your very good friend. But it’s gold, and it feels awesome.” The match came down to a decision on penalties with neither woman taking a strong advantage in the bout. “That’s how I thought it would go,” Matic said. “I knew no one was going to score an ippon. I knew it would be that kind of fight.” Samardzic won silver, Sara Rodriguez (ESP) and Elvismar Rodriguez (VEN) both took bronze.