France wins first ever judo mixed team gold medal

TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 31: Team France celebrate victory over Team Japan during the Mixed Team Final to claim the gold medal on day eight of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Nippon Budokan on July 31, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 31: Team France celebrate victory over Team Japan during the Mixed Team Final to claim the gold medal on day eight of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Nippon Budokan on July 31, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

France have defeated Japan 4-1 to win the first ever gold medal in judo mixed team; Israel and Germany take bronze as the event made its debut at the Olympic Games

France have become the first judo mixed team gold medallist after beating host nation Japan 4-1 at the Nippon Budokan.

Two powerhouses of the mixed team went head-to-head for the coveted Olympic gold medal as the event made it's first appearance on the Olympic Games schedule.

Host nation Japan are four-time world champions while France have won a medal team at all four world championships this event was staged - three silvers and a bronze.

The bout saw France take an early 2-0 lead over Japan after Clarisse Agbegnenou won by ippon over ARAI Chizuru in the -70kg before with another win by ippon coming courtesy of Alex Clerget in the -90kg against MUKAI Shoichiro.

SONE Akira, who won gold in the +78kg earlier this week, put Japan back into contention for the gold with her own ippon win over Romane Dicko. Teddy Riner's +90kg bout with WOLF Aaron proved to be a tough one, going to golden score before the Frenchmen won by waza-ari.

Then a waza-ari from Sarah Leonie Cysique just over a minute into the women's -57kg bout with YOSHIDA Tsukasa gave France an unassailable lead.

"This gold medal is very important," said Teddy Riner, who won his third Olympic gold medal to become the second athlete to win at least three gold medals in Olympic Judo - NOMURA Tadahiro of Japan the other.

"To win here in the country of judo at the Olympic Games at the Budokan is amazing for this team, the federation of judo and the people of France. I'm very proud. I dont have words because it's am amazing day, it's a dream," he added.

With the mixed team event event already on the cards for Paris 2024, Wolf, who won gold in the 100kg, was already looking forward to facing them again in just three years time.

"I'm not satisfied [with the result] but with these team members we were able to compete until the end so I feel a since of fulfilment so I would like to take on this challenge [again] and get revenge in Paris," he said.

It was the first time France had beaten Japan in three-meetings in the gold medal bout, with two of those previously at World Championships.

And Team France are ready to welcome Japan to Paris for their own home Olympic Games.

"Well this victory is going to be very important, it goes without saying. To win against team Japan in Japan...in three years we will be at home in Paris," 78kg silver medallist Madeleine Malonga of France said.

"I'm convinced they'll want to take revenge but we will be ready. We had our chance, they beat us in many finals in recent years but today we showed we are able to beat them. I can't wait for Paris 2024."

Japanese athletes have dominated judo events at Tokyo 2020, coming away with nine gold medals, two silver and one bronze - equalling the record for most judo medals won by a nation at a single Olympics (Japan holds the record with 12 from Rio 2016).

France also had a successful Olympic Judo campaign taking eight medals at Tokyo 2020 to surpass their record for most judo medals at a single Olympic Games (seven at Barcelona 1992 and London 2012).

Israel and Germany took the bronze medals after beating ROC (4-1) and the Netherlands (4-2) respectively.