The Russian delegation arrived in Rio de Janeiro amidst a great amount of controversy, with the IOC originally moving to ban the nation’s athletes from the Olympic Games before 271 were ultimately cleared to compete. On Saturday Russia earned its first gold medal in Rio, with Beslan Mudranov winning the men’s 60kg judo competition. Mudranov beat Kazakhstan’s Yeldos Smetov in the gold medal match, recording a waza-ari in the golden score round after the two fought to a scoreless tie in regulation.
Joining Mudranov and Smetov on the medal stand were Japan’s Naohisa Takato and Uzbekistan’s Diyorbek Urozboev, who won their respective bronze medal matches. Urozboev’s bronze is the fifth medal in judo in Uzbekistan’s Summer Olympic history, with the nation competing in its first Summer Olympics as an independent nation in 1996.
Also winning gold in judo was Argentina’s Paula Pareto, who defeated South Korea’s Jeong Bo-Kyeong in the women’s 48kg final to become the first male or female Argentine to win gold in the sport. Pareto won a bronze medal in Beijing eight years ago, and the two gold medal match combatants were joined on the medal stand by bronze medalists Kazakhstan’s Otgontsetseg Galbadrakh and Japan’s Ami Kondo.
With their medals, Mudranov and Galbadrakh earned the first-ever medals for Kazakhstan in the sport of judo.