London 2012 Judo World Champ Ends Palelashvili's Run

A diplomatic flap almost occurred earlier in the morning when the Israeli delegation found a Palestinian flag in its room.

Judoka Iosef "Soso" Palelashvili got as far as the Round of 16 but could not get past the 2011 world champion in the men's -73kg category on Monday.

He started the day against Sezer Huysuz of Turkey. Palelashvili had declared the evening before that he could eat Huysuz for breakfast, and indeed he did. After some 90 cautious seconds, Palelashvili began dictating the pace and looked more aggressive than his opponent.

He eventually tripped his Turkish rival behind the leg and brought him down for a wazari. Despite his advantage the Israeli did not retreat, and continued to be the more dangerous fighter. Twice he put Huysuz briefly into a lock and escaped two dangerous situations with relative ease.

His next opponent, 2011 world champion Riki Nakaya, was a totally different story. Nakaya dominated the entire contest, eventually pinning Palelashvili to the mat for an ippon. Nakaya looked like he would settle for nothing less than a gold medal. However, he would later fall in the gold medal fight to Russia's Mansur Isaev.

He scored a yuko against Palelashvili within 50 seconds, and later held him in a lock for 13 seconds. With under two minutes remaining, he put Palelashvili in another lock for 25 seconds, resulting in the ippon.

"When you compete against the world champion with all his medals and successes over the past year, Soso's chances aren't good," said Oren Smadja, the Israeli judo coach. He said Palelashvili was very disappointed because he beat several top judoka's this year and hoped for more.

81 seconds of fame

At the same time as Palelashvili's first contest, Palestinian judoka Maher Abu Rmilah was competing against Belgian Dirk van Tichelt on the adjacent mat. Abu Rmilah lasted 81 seconds before van Tichelt defeated him with an ippon.

A diplomatic flap almost occurred earlier in the morning when the Israeli delegation found a Palestinian flag in its room.

"I have no problem being with them," said Smadja, "but we didn't have a room. In the end they said they got confused and the matter was taken care of."