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France tops medal table after fightback

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The best judo images of Baku 2015

Judo | Best of Baku 2015
David Larose (white) of France and Sergiu Oleinic of Portugal compete in the men's team quarter-final. Francois Nel/Getty Images
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 28: Jaromir Musil of the Czech Republic (white) and Alexander Wieczerzak of Germany compete in the Men's Judo Team Repechage during day sixteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at Heydar Aliyev Arena on June 28, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 26: Gemma Howell of Great Britain (white) reacts as Mia Hermansson of Sweden (blue) celebrates victory in the Women's Judo -63kg elimination round of 16 contest during day fourteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at the Heydar Aliyev Arena on June 26, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 28: (L-R) Annabelle Euranie and Laetitia Blot of France celebrate winning the gold in the Women's Team gold medal match during day sixteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at Heydar Aliyev Arena on June 28, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 27: Zlatko Kumric of Croatia (blue) and Elkhan Mammadov of Azerbaijan (white) compete in the Men's Judo -100kg round of 32 contest during day fifteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at Heydar Aliyev Arena on June 27, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 28: Silver medalists Germany, gold medalists France, Bronze medalists Italy and bronze medalists Slovenia pose for a photo with the medals won in the Women's Team finals during day sixteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at Heydar Aliyev Arena on June 28, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 25: Nijat Shikhalizada (white) of Azerbaijan and Sinan Sandal (blue) of Turkey compete during the Men's Judo 66kg round of 32 bout on day thirteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at the Heydar Aliyev Arena on June 25, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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Gold medalists France pose with the medals won in the Men's and Women's Team finals during day sixteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at Heydar Aliyev Arena on June 28, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 27: Zlatko Kumric of Croatia (blue) and Elkhan Mammadov of Azerbaijan (white) compete in the Men's Judo -100kg round of 32 contest during day fifteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at Heydar Aliyev Arena on June 27, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 27: Madeleine Malonga of France (white) and Gemma Gibbons of Great Britain (blue) compete in the Women's Judo -78kg round of 32 contest during day fifteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at Heydar Aliyev Arena on June 27, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 28: Matjaz Ceraj of Slovenia (blue) and Iakiv Khammo of Ukraine (white) compete during the Men's Judo Team contest on day sixteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at Heydar Aliyev Arena on June 28, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 27: Luise Malzahn of Germany (blue) and Anamari Klementina Velensek of Slovenia (white) compete in the Women's Judo -78kg semi finals on day fifteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at Heydar Aliyev Arena on June 27, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 27: Varlam Liparteliani (white) of Georgia and Beka Gviniashvili of (blue) Georgia compete in the Men's -90kg semi final during day fifteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at Heydar Aliyev Arena on June 27, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 28: Loic Pietri of France psyches himself up prior to competing in the Men's Team semi finals during day sixteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at Heydar Aliyev Arena on June 28, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 25: (L-R) Silver medalist Orkhan Safarov of Azerbaijan, gold medalist Beslan Mudranov of Russia, bronze medalist Amiran Papinishvili of Georgia and bronze medalist Ludovic Chammartin of Switzerland pose on the medal podium following the Men's Judo -60kg Finals during day thirteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at the Heydar Aliyev Arena on June 25, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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A review of Judo at the Baku 2015 European Games

The contrast between France's efforts in the individual and team competitions at the Heydar Aliyev Arena, where the European Games Judo doubled up as the 2015 European Championships, could not have been greater. After a disappointing start with the individual events, a sensational last day saw the golds rain down in the team contests.

French judoka enjoyed stunning victories in both team finals on Sunday, and their women won four bouts in succession, three of them by ippon within 15 seconds, to defeat Germany 4-1.

"For some of us, including me, it was a kind of revenge for the individual event," Clarisse Agbegenenou said after the win. "I made an error in the individual event, but I came back in the team."

The men then won their first three contests against a Georgia team that featured two individual gold medallists. After the first women's bout against Germany, no French judoka lost in either final. In fact, the only point France subsequently conceded was when one of their men withdrew from a 'dead' bout, with the gold already won. 

Korval made up for his individual defeat by beating Amiran Papinashvili by ippon, then Pierre Duprat won an epic encounter against Nugzari Tatalashvili. The third match was also close, and Loic Pietri was so exhausted after beating Avtandili Tchrikishvili, he could barely celebrate. 

"Nobody was very satisfied with their result in the (individual) championship and we said 'Let's go for it.' That gave us an extra push," Pietri said.

Those two gold medals took France to the top of the Judo table with three gold, two silver and three bronze ahead of Russia (3 gold, 1 silver, 6 bronze). Germany won only one gold but had an impressive haul of 11 medals (four silver and six bronze) which was just reward for their intense preparations. 

Best contest
Czech judoka Lukas Krpalek and home favourite Elkhan Mammadov's round of 16 bout ended in spectacular fashion when, three minutes into the bout, Krpalek attacked with a uchi-mata, Mammadov tried to block it and Krpalekcounter-blocked it into an ippon for o-uchi-gari.

Biggest cheer
There was plenty of noise at the Heydar Aliyev Arena throughout the four days, but it reached new levels when Ilham Zakiyev won the visually impaired +90kg gold medal in front of his home crowd. Zakiyev, a double Paralympic and world champion, is a national hero and the contest was watched by President Ilham Aliyev, who presented the medals and briefly stood on the podium with the judoka before the gold medallist roared out the national anthem in a highly emotional scene.

Best quote
Kamal Khan Magomedov, the Russian gold medallist in -66kg, on how he became a judoka:
"In our city we didn't know what judo was, we were thinking it was karate. So we went to karate, but it was judo."

Biggest upset
Elmar Gasimov, Azerbaijan's world no.2 in the men's -100kg, was always expected to reach the final. A full house at Heydar Aliyev Arena came to cheer him on, only to be stunned into silence when he lost to a brilliant ippon from Portugal's Jorge Fonseca in the elimination round of 16. 

Most deserving winner
In the men's -90kg, Russia's Kirill Denisov faced down the world's no.3, no.2 and no.1 in his class to take an unlikely gold.


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    France tops medal table after fightback

    A review of Judo at the Baku 2015 European Games
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    Home Judo hopes crash out

    Georgia, Germany and the Netherlands take charge
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    Baku poised for star-studded Judo competition

    European Games boast gold medallists from Olympics, world and European championships
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    Getting to know... Judo

    The Baku 2015 Judo competition will encompass 18 medal events over four days
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