Judo Day 5 preview: Refugee athletes take the spotlight

Popole Misenga

The fifth day of judo will feature the Olympic debut of two members of the new Refugee Olympic Team.

Popole Misenga and Yolande Mabika were formerly members of Congo’s national team but were subject to mistreatment, including days where they were locked in a cell and given little food and water after failing to win a medal at competitions. They went to Brazil for a tournament in 2013 and ended up seeking asylum there.

Earlier this year, both were selected to be part of the new refugee team created by the IOC. While at the Olympics, the 10-member team is receiving the same amenities afforded to the athletes who are representing countries, including the ability to stay in the Olympic Village and the ability to march in the Opening Ceremony.

Both judokas will make history when they take the mat on Wednesday morning – Misenga in the men’s 90kg division, Mabika in the 70kg class.

Here’s what else to know for Day 5 of competition.

Schedule and live stream links
Prelims (9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET): Mat 1 | Mat 2
Finals (2:30 p.m. – 5:10 p.m. ET): Medal Matches

The first block will feature preliminary and quarterfinal matches, and will take place on two separate mats, each with a dedicated live stream.

The final block will feature repechage matches, semifinals, Bronze Medal Matches and Gold Medal Matches.

Men’s 90kg
Top seeds:

  • 1. Mashu Baker (JPN)
  • 2. Gwak Dong-Han (KOR)
  • 3. Varlam Liparteliani (GEO
  • 4. Krisztian Toth (HUN)

Other names to know:

  • Colton Brown (USA): The American entry is ranked 27th in the world ahead of his Olympic debut.
  • Popole Misenga (ROT): The Congo-born judoka, who now lives in Brazil, will compete as a member of the new Refugee Olympic Team.

Full bracket

Women’s 70kg
Top seeds:

  • 1. Kim Polling (NED)
  • 2. Yuri Alvear (COL)
  • 3. Gevrise Emane (FRA)
  • 4. Bernadette Graf (AUT)

Other names to know:

  • Yolande Mabika (ROT): The Congo-born judoka, who now lives in Brazil, will compete as a member of the new Refugee Olympic Team.

Full bracket

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