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France, Japan Take Judo Golds

July 23, 1996

ATLANTA (AP) _ Japan had a superstar champion and a relative unknown make the finals in judo’s half-middleweight divisions Tuesday.

The veteran lost and the rookie won.

Yuko Emoto gained the women’s gold while Toshihiko Koga, with three world championships and the 1992 Olympic winner, got a men’s silver.

France’s Djamel Bouras beat Koga with a disputed judge’s decision in the men’s final that left the Japanese fighter stunned.

Emoto, a newcomer to the Olympics, beat 1993 world champion Gella Van de Caveye of Belgium in the women’s final. Along the way Emoto beat France’s Catherine Fleury-Vachon, the 1992 gold medalist in the class.

South Korea’s Jung Sung-Sook and the Netherlands’ Jenny Gal took the women’s bronze medals.

Jason Morris of Scotia, N.Y., beat Ukraine’s Karen Balayan in the opening men’s match but lost to Turkey’s Irakli Uzanade in the second. Morris was the silver medalist in the division in 1992.

``I thought I could win. I came here to win,″ Morris said.

In the women’s division, Celita Schutz of Riverdale, N.J., lost her opening match against Venezuela’s Xiomara Griffith. Then Schutz was eliminated when Griffith lost in the quarterfinals.

Jung beat Israel’s Yael Arad for her bronze. Arad had won Israel’s only Olympic medal when she took a silver in 1992.

Arad lost to Emoto in the quarterfinals, then worked her way back up for a shot at a bronze medal but lost a points decision to Jung.

Arad was disappointed.

``Nothing is greater than a medal. A medal is a medal,″ Arad said.

Emoto had not won any major championship and even lost in the first round at last year’s world championship.

In the men’s event, Bouras made his first Olympics a winner.

``I was really nervous during the training. I couldn’t wait for this day to compete. I couldn’t sleep last night,″ Bouras said. ``The Japanese beat me last year. He was twice a world champion. I was able to put my nerves aside.″

Koga had won the Olympic lightweight gold in 1992, then retired for a few years. He came back in 1994, moved up a class and dominated that event in the 1995 championships winning the title there.

In the final, Koga went out to a early lead but the Frenchman kept calm and kept advancing.

``I was able to put my nerves aside and kept pushing and pushing,″ Bouras said.

He tied the match and the decision went to the judges. All three picked Bouras, leaving a stunned look on Koga’s face.

The men’s division had Soso Liparteliani of the former Soviet Republic of Georgia and South Korea’s Cho In-chul taking bronze.

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