Tadahiro Nomura hopes Teddy Riner wins 3rd gold

Tadahiro Nomura with his three Olympic gold medals.

“It would be tough to see a Japanese fighter lose, but I’d also be happy to see Teddy Riner win the title,” said Tadahiro Nomura, who won his first Olympic -60kg title at the 1996 Atlanta Games and defended it in Sydney and Athens.

“My ideal would be for him not to be booed by the crowd, but to give a performance worthy of him as the king — to win his third title with strong judo,” he said, a less than subtle hint that Riner should try to win with ippon judo rather than through penalties.

Nomura said that Riner would compete with “wounded pride” after his almost 10-year, 154-match unbeaten streak was ended by Japan’s Kokoro Kageura in February last year.

That would make the French superstar “a scary prospect” for opponents in Tokyo, and defeat might have helped refocus his mind, Nomura said.

“He has a different look in his eyes, and his body is different — he’s sharp,” he said.

“He wasn’t in his best condition and he wasn’t prepared, and he lost. He knows that. It’s wounded his pride and he’ll be coming to win in Tokyo,” he added.

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