By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Brazilian Rafael Silva won his second Olympic bronze medal in judo yesterday, August 12th (the first was at London in 2012). It was Brazil’s first male judo medal in Rio 2016, the third medal in the sport, as Silva beat Abdullo Tangriev from Uzbekistan in the 100 kg weight class division.
Rafael Silva started strong in the tournament with two wins against Ramon Pileta (Honduras) and Renat Saidov (Russia), but then lost to Teddy Riner (France) in the quarterfinals. Riner, who has not lost since 2010 and is considered the largest idol in judo today, went on to win the 2016 gold medal.
Silva returned to the medal race to beat Roy Meyer (Netherlands), and then faced Tangriev for the bronze medal. “I am very happy. It’s great to win a medal at home. The crowd supported me a lot and I heard all the cheers encouraging me. I also need to thank my team, who believed in our work,” said Silva afterward.
For Brazil, the result of judo team is setting the sport ahead of others in terms of Olympic success. “Judo is a dynamic sport, active, and the Olympics are a different competition. It’s hard to say how many medals will happen, but the team has had a good performance. The Rafa [Rafaela Silva] won gold and now we won the bronze,” said Baby, as Silva is known in Brazil.
The bronze medal of Rafael Silva is the 22nd for the Brazilian judo team in the Olympics, and the fourth total for Brazil in Rio 2016. Judo is the sport that Brazil has won the most medals for in the Games.