(ATTN: UPDATES with more details throughout; ADDS photo, byline)
By Yoo Jee-ho
LONDON, July 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korean judoka Kim Jae-bum captured gold in the men's under-81-kilogram category at the London Olympics Tuesday.
At ExCeL Arena, Kim defeated Ole Bischof of Germany for his first Olympic gold in a rematch of the finals at the Beijing Olympics, avenging a close defeat from four years ago. It was South Korea's third gold medal in London.
The victory also completes judo's equivalent of a grand slam. Kim, 27, has now won the Olympics, the world championships, the Asian championships and the Asian Games at least once in his career. He's the second South Korean judoka to accomplish the feat after former Olympic champion Lee Won-hee in the men's under-73㎏ class.
In the gold medal bout, Kim picked up his first yuko, the smallest score in judo, 41 seconds into the match with ouchi-gari, or an inner-leg sweep. Kim earned his second and final yuko about a minute later with yet another leg sweep.
Kim's path to the finals was far from smooth. He beat Uzbekistan's Yakhyo Imamov with osoto-gari, or an outer reap, but progressed through to the semis on penalties against his opponents. Then in the semis, Kim needed seoi-nage, a dropping shoulder throw, to beat Ivan Nifontov of Russia.
After the match, Kim said he'd been dying to get his revenge on Bischof.
"I lost to him four years ago because I wasn't just good enough," Kim said. "Today, I came out to beat him."
Kim said he'd been in much pain in the buildup to the Olympics. He said his left side, all the way from the shoulder down to the elbow, fingers and the knee, have been hurt so badly that he couldn't even do proper sprints a day before the competition.
He said he didn't feel that great Tuesday morning, but the devout Christian looked upward for some encouragement.
"I prayed, 'Please let this be the day for me,'" Kim said. "Now that I've won the gold, I can't describe this feeling."
Along with Kim, Wang Ki-chun in the men's under-73kg had been tabbed as a gold medal favorite in London. But Wang crashed out of the semis and lost in the bronze medal match on Monday.
Kim said he was only focused on his own competition.
"(Wang's failure to win a medal earlier) didn't any add any extra pressure to win the gold," Kim said. "And accomplishing the grand slam is such a great honor."
Also on the judo mat Tuesday, Joung Da-woon came in fifth in the women's under-63㎏ category.
The unheralded Olympic rookie stunned the world No. 1 Yoshie Ueno in the quarterfinals, but fell to Xu Lili of China in the semis. Then the 23-year-old Korean lost to Gevrise Emane of France in the bronze medal contest in a unanimous judges' decision.
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