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September 19, 2000
Europeans floor Asians in judoBarnaby Chesterman
Maddaloni, a double European champion, charmed the crowd by doing a forward flip after his victory in the men's 73kg category against the 18-year-old Brazilian sensation, Tiago Camillo.
As one favourite after another fell by the wayside, Maddaloni, who had been a little out of sorts since his last European title in May 1999, kept his head and triumphed with a string of ippon (perfect score) victories.
But while Maddaloni quietly worked his way through his side of the draw, the other half was filled with drama.
The young South Korean, Choi Young-sin, caused a stir by first eliminating world champion Jimmy Pedro of the United States and then scoring another sensational victory against the reigning Olympic champion, Kenzo Nakamura of Japan, who he threw for ippon with a left-sided tai-otoshi (valley drop).
Choi then found himself up against Camillo who had only made his way to the semi-final by virtue of some late victories.
But Camillo was on fire, and made short work of Choi to become the most unlikely of finalists.
Only two years ago as a 16-year-old, Camillo won the world junior title in Cali, Colombia.
Last year he suffered a bad knee injury that wrecked his season.
This year was supposed to be a transitional one for him to gain senior experience while looking forward to his main goal of retaining his junior world title next month.
But Camillo progressed so quickly that he won a silver medal at the prestigious Tournoi de Paris in February and then incredibly beat the world championship bronze medallist, Sebastian Perreira, in the Brazilian Olympic qualification tournament.
His inexperience showed in the final, however, as he was countered for ippon when attacking Maddaloni with his favourite technique, a left-handed uchi-mata (inner thigh throw).
The women's 57kg event went much more to form, although there was an early surprise when one of the favourites, Cheryle Peel from Great Britain, lost poorly in the first round to Kie Kusakabe of Japan.
Kusakabe almost claimed another scalp in the second round against Isabel Fernandez, but the Spaniard won a debatable judges' decision.
The final against Driulis Gonzalez of Cuba, the reigning Olympic champion, was a repeat of the last two world championships between the two dominant women in the category.
This time, though, Fernandez's rugged, scrappy style got the better of the Cuban by a single penalty.
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