Judoka Luka Mkheidze (- 60 kg) offered France its first medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games by winning bronze on Saturday, July 24, at the Nippon Budokan.
Silver medal at the European Championships
25-year-old Luka Mkheidze is competing in his first Olympic Games in Tokyo. He got his selection on the wire this year thanks to his silver medal at the European Championships in Lisbon in April.
On the way to this first Olympic medal, Luka Mkheidze first beat the very solid Spaniard Francisco Garrigos, bronze medalist at the recent World Championships in Lisbon and who had beaten him in the final of the European Championships. The French won by waza-ari in the Golden Score.
He then clearly dominated the Ukrainian Artem Lesiuk with two waza-ari worth ippon in less than two minutes of combat. In the semifinals, Mkheidze suffered the law of Taiwanese Yung Wei Yang, 11th in the world rankings and twice silver medalist at the Asian Championships.
Coming from Georgia
But he was able to re-mobilize to dominate Korean Kim Won-jin in the golden score, and win bronze.
Born in Tbilisi, Georgia, Mkheidze was naturalized French in 2015. He fled his country with his mother in 2009 and arrived in France in 2010.