Putin and British Foreign Secretary William Hague were seen explaining the sport to British PM David Cameron.
LONDON: Kayla Harrison became the first American Olympic judo champion on Thursday as Tagir Khaibulaev (right) won gold in front of Russian president Vladimir Putin. Harrison beat home favourite Gemma Gibbons in the women’s under-78kg final to eclipse the achievement of her coach Jimmy Pedro, a bronze medallist at both the 1996 and 2004 Games.
In so doing, she broke British hearts but Gibbons’s run to the final had been as unexpected as it was celebrated by a raucous home crowd. Putin’s appearance had been anticipated alongside British PM David Cameron, who sat in the VIP area with British Foreign Secretary William Hague.Having the two heads of state in attendance seemed to inspire their athletes, with Russian Khaibulaev going one better than Gibbons.
He won the men’s under-100kg division by beating reigning champion Tuvshinbayar Naidan of Mongolia in the final with a stunning seoi-nage (shoulder throw). That took Russia’s tally to three gold medals in the judo competition and they are set to top the table after Friday’s final heavyweight categories.