Japan got its first gold medal at the Olympic Games on Monday, through judoka Kaori Matsumoto, who defeated Romanian Corina Caprioriu in the final of women’s – 57kg category.
Matsumoto, 24-year-old and world’s number one in her category, benefited of a penalty received by her Romanian adversary, who was disqualified for a leg grab. The Japanese judoka is the first to win a medal from the highly-fancied women’s judo team of Japan.
Both Tomoko Fukumi and Misato Nakamura, favorites for gold in their lower weight categories, lost in previous phases of the tournament.
Matsumoto felt however the support of her more experienced colleagues. “Fukumi knew that this was my first time here in the Olympics so told me to go for it and Nakamura told me ‘You’re going to get the first gold medal for us’,” she said.
Her Romanian rival accepted the defeat with fair-play. “I’m not too disappointed nonetheless, because I’ve still won a silver medal, and that’s a big thing for me,” Caprioriu said.