Van Zyl's bronze makes it two medals for judo at Games | SASCOC - SASCOC

Van Zyl’s bronze makes it two medals for judo at Games

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By Mark Etheridge

Judoka Jacques van Zyl scored his codes’ second medal and Team South Africa’s third medal of the Games on Friday evening.

The 2012 Olympian had earlier won his first two bouts after a first round bye, before losing to Kiwi Adrian Leat in the -73kg semi-final.

After the afternoon break, Van Zyl’s bout was the fifth of the evening programme.
He took on Northern Ireland’s Eoin Fleming for one of two bronze medals up for grabs.

After Fleming picked up two shido’s (penalties) it wasn’t long before Van Zyl seized on his opponent and had him down on the mat in a match-winning ippon hold-down.

That saw him join fellow judoka Siyabulela Mabulu on the medals table after the latter had won bronze in the -66kg category on Thursday.

‘Ja, it’s a kind of bitter-sweet feeling,’ he told the website after his victory.

‘I came here to win gold but a medal is still a medal,’ said the current African champion. ‘I would have been very cross if I had to leave here without a medal.

‘I’ve fought him before at last year’s African Open in Mauritius where he beat me.

‘After he had those two shido’s against him he had to make a bit of a tactical change and then suddenly my opportunity was there. I’m not a guy who likes the groundwork much, I’m more a throwing type of guy but the opportunity was there, and just as importantly, the strength was there,’ he smiled.

First up it’s a bit of a rest for the likeable Pretoria based athlete. ‘And then it depends. We have worlds in Russia at the end of August but nothing is confirmed yet as I’ve used up so many of my leave days already this year.

‘But it’s Africa Open again in Mauritius in November and that’s an Olympic qualifier for Rio 2016, so that will be an important one again.’