Women’s -57kg and men’s -73kg judo gold medals were at stake in Rio on Monday. Judoka Rafaela Silva delivered the first gold medal for the host country when she won the women’s -57kg. An aggressive Silva scored waza-ari over Mongolia’s Sumiya Dorjsuren with a throw a little over a minute into the final and was able to hold on to that lead amid deafening cheering from the stands.
“I’m very happy about the result. I’ve been training a lot these last few years and the results are showing. The supporters really helped me with momentum and the pressure against my opponents. The stadium was shaking, everybody was screaming and cheering me up every minute,” the Olympic champion said.
Gold winner Silva’s win was extra special as she grew up in host city Rio de Janeiro and blossomed to become an Olympic champion despite the tough conditions of her native City of God favela.
Dorjsuren’s silver medal was the first Olympic judo medal for a Mongolian woman. London 2012 Olympic Games champion and Rio favourite Kaori Matsumoto from Japan had to content herself with bronze this time after losing to Dorjsuren in the semifinal. Experienced Olympian Telma Monteiro from Portugal claimed the other bronze medal.
“It feels great. I have waited 12 years for this and this is my fourth Olympics. I did it. I’m speechless,” said Monteiro.