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Congratulations to Ilias Iliadis, one of the three European World Champions of this year. The Greek hero celebrates his 24th birthday today.
Only 20 judoka have won both the World and Olympic title faster than Iliadis (6 women). Chinese Li Zhongyun was the fastest when she won the world title in 1987 aged 19 and the Olympic title in 1988 (20yrs), when judo was a demonstration sport.
Iliadis was the youngest male Olympic Champion, Sun Hui Kye the youngest woman.
The youngest male European judoka to win both titles was French Thierry Rey in 1979 and 1980 (20 and 21 yrs), a little faster than Hungarian Antal Kovacs in 1992 and 1993 at the same age.
Youngest female double champion was Sharon Rendle (1987 and 1988) aged 21 and 22. Rey, Kovacs, Rendle and Iliadis are the only Europeans of the 20 fastest double champs.
Iliadis quoted just after his world title:
Iliadis: "it's fantastic, unbelievable, I can't even speak and my heart is beating. The past years, I was really badly injured with my knee and with my hand. But today, it is like everything is gone. I feel good, I have no pain. That's great! My judo is based only on the attack, I don't really care about who is in front of me. I just felt so good today" explained the Greek hero...
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