Judo mixed team event creates ‘family’ ties across borders
In the last judo bout of the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games, a boy from Serbia stood by the mat screaming out in support of his teammate, a girl from Chinese Taipei, as they battled for the gold medal in the mixed international team competition.
And when Wang Yu Jyun (TPE) was tossed upon her back by Morgane Duchene (FRA), losing the fight by ippon, it was 18-year-old Nermanja Majdov (SRB) who offered a word of comfort and congratulated her on the team's silver medal.
“We didn’t know each other before,” Majdov said after the fight. “But today we are family.”
Each judoka stood on the side of the mat, arms in the air, shouting for an ippon score to be awarded in their favour when Wang appeared to put Duchene on her back. When none was awarded, Majdov served as cheerleader to keep his squad's spirits up.
“Today we are one team,” Majdov said. “And now we share the same silver medal.”
In the most exciting match of the final round, Mullenberg trailed Sunjevic but scored an ippon toss in the final second of the bout.
“It’s very special,” said Mullenberg, who celebrated her 18th birthday on Thursday by taking a gold medal with her team. “It was just one second on the board so it was great.”
The two teams were tied when Mullenberg secured the win.
“I really like the team,” Mullenberg said. “Normally we don’t have competitions like this but I think we should have more.”
Two teams shared bronze medals in the event, giving a total of 29 judo medals in the final day of competition as four Olympic flags hung from the rafters.