Sports

Nicolas Gill says goodbye to judo

After nine years and two Olympic medals, Nicolas Gill has decided to retire from competitive judo.

Saying that the time was right, Gill competed in the final tournament of his long career, finishing ninth at the Kano Cup in Tokyo.

Gill completes his career as Canada's most successful judoka. The 32-year-old Montreal native won a silver medal at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney and a bronze medal eight years earlier in Barcelona.

He will now concentrate on training young athletes as a national team coach.

He also won three world championship medals, three Pan American Games medals and 10 national titles.

"It was not an on-the-spur-of-the-moment decision. I had been thinking about retiring for awhile," he said before the competition. "And after the last Olympics, it was pretty clear in my mind that I had come to the end of the road."

Gill didn't perform well at the Athens Olympics last August, losing in his opening bout to Michele Monti of Italy.

He was also subject of controversy leading up to the Games.

Named Canada's flag-bearer, Gill was forced to defend himself when a Toronto Sun article reported he voted in favour of Quebec sovereignty in 1995. Gill defended himself by saying his views have changed.

Gill won two matches and lost two matches at the Kano Cup. The meet was an open-class event, meaning Gill fought against bigger opponents.

Japan's Kosei Inoue, who beat Gill in 2000 to win the Olympic gold in the 100-kilogram weight class, won the tournament.

Keith Morgan of Calgary also finished ninth.

with files from Canadian Press

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