Astana: A pensive Teddy Riner described himself as merely "satisfied" after claiming a record eighth title at the world judo championships in Kazakhstan on Saturday.
As Japan claimed a sixth gold medal across six days of competition, giant Frenchman Riner stole the show with his historic achievement as he won the over 100kg weight division in Astana.
For the second year in a row he beat Japan`s Ryu Shichinohe in the final, although this time more convincingly than 12 months ago when he needed penalties to clinch the gold medal.
"There`s obviously a lot of satisfaction. I`m happy because it wasn`t a final that panned out the way they usually do, being decided by penalties," said the 2.04-metre (6ft 8in) 26-year-old.
"I managed to impose myself a little bit all day long. There`s a lot of satisfaction based on all the question marks raised throughout the season."
Known for his powerful upright judo, in particular a devastating harai-goshi hip throw and his osoto-gari leg sweep, Riner seemed a touch out of sorts in Astana.
He used a sacrificial sumi-gaeshi technique to score his winning points -- a waza-ari and a yuko -- against Shichinohe in the final.
"I won`t hide it from you, it wasn`t my best day in terms of how I felt -- how lucid I was, is what I want to say.
"Fortunately I believe in myself (but) I`ve had better days. But there you go, the medal is there, I`ve got the eighth. That`s what I have to hold on to.
"I know there`s been an operation, many injuries this season, so not much feeling. It was a bit of a race against the clock (just to be in Astana)."
While Riner may not have been at his best, he remains head and shoulders, literally as well as figuratively, above the competition.
Towering over his opponents, he seems to make them crumble mentally.
Shichinohe never really came to life in the final, seemingly unwilling to take any risks and once Riner had a score on the board, the result appeared beyond question.
Riner is now unbeaten in 95 bouts, his last loss coming in September 2010 when he dopped a controversial points decision to Japan`s Daiki Kamikawa in the final of the open-category division at the world championships in Tokyo.
The bronze medals went to Adam Okruashvili of Georgia and to Iakiv Khammo of Ukraine.
Ryunosuke Haga won the men`s under-100kg division on penalties against Germany`s Karl-Richard Frey.
It was Japan`s sixth gold medal across 14 categories ahead of Sunday`s team events and ensures they finish comfortably top of the final medals table -- only France and South Korea with two each have managed more than a single gold medal.
At just 24 years of age, Haga is one of a new breed of young Japanese judoka who took these championships by storm and will be expected to dominate next year`s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro as well -- thus making up for the London 2012 disaster when Kaori Matsumoto won their only Olympic crown.
The bronze medals in the division went to Belgium`s Toma Nikiforov and Dimitri Peters of Germany.
Japan came close to another gold medal as they had a finalist in all three of the day`s categories.
However, China`s Yu Song won the women`s over 78kg category with a narrow success against Megumi Tachimoto, who won her fifth world medal but has yet to stand on the top step.
The bronze medals went to Kanae Yamabe of Japan and Cuba`s Idalys Ortiz, who almost produced the throw of the tournament with a huge pick-up of China`s Ma Sisi that she narrowly failed to turn into a dramatic maximum ippon score.