YOUNG RUSSIANS STEP UP TO TAKE CADET WORLD TEAM CROWN

Cadet World Judo Championships - Team, Santiago de Chile 2017

The first ever mixed team event at a cadet world championships saw Russia emerge victorious on the fifth and final day of competition in Santiago, Chile. The competing teams comprised four girls (in weights -44kgs, -52kgs, -63kgs and +63kgs) and four boys (in weights -55kgs, -66kgs, -81kgs and +81kgs). There can be little or no question over the title holder’s claim to be the best in the world given that all the major nations in world judo were in attendance. Perhaps only South Korea may be considered as a “major” absentee. But even they would have been hard pressed to halt the Russian team’s march to the podium, or even to be on the podium alongside Japan, Georgia or Brazil.

A total of 18 teams began the day with the Russian team taking to the tatami in the first round against Argentina. From the very outset the Russian team signaled its dominance and powered its way to an impressive 8-0 win. In round two Russia was again unstoppable, losing only a single contest (7-1) in its match with Kazakhstan. This brought about a quarter final with Mongolia. But again, Russia proved to be in good form and took the match 6-2. In the semi final Russia faced the team of Georgia who was coming off a quarter final win over Japan. But Russia was able to call on stronger performances from the girls in its team and finished comfortable winners by 6-2.

In the final Russia faced Brazil who had swept aside France 6-2, before demolishing Australia 8-0, crushing Canada 8-0 and storming past Uzbekistan 8-0. The Russians were however, a different proposition altogether. Nevertheless, Brazil began the show nervously when in the -44kg category Laura FERREIRA (BRA) edged past Lillia NUGAEVA (RUS) in golden score where the Russian collected a second shido to make it 1-0 Brazil. Thereafter Russia set about building the winning platform. First in the -55kg category with Arman GAMBARIAN (RUS) who after only 35 seconds threw Aristides JUNIOR (BRA) with left uchi mata for ippon to level the score at 1-1. The third contest in the match (in the -52kg category) saw Nicole FRANZOI (BRA) put up stiff resistance against Natalia ELKINA (RUS). However, with only four seconds remaining in normal time, Elkina was able to secure juji gatame from which Franzoi submitted making the score 2-1 in favour of Russia. Brazil’s job became even tougher when in the -66kg category Pedro MEDEIROS (BRA) was thrown for ippon after only 20 seconds with sumi gaeshi by Karen GALSTIAN (RUS) to make the score 3-1 to Russia.

Things were looking good at the halfway point for Russia. But there was drama to come as first Daria VASILEVA (RUS) in the -63kg category rushed her efforts to overcome Gabriella MORAES (BRA) and fell into a kesa gatame that Moraes (hampered and suffering from stomach cramps) was happy to accept, making the score 3-2 to Russia. If Vasileva appeared hurried, then Mansur LORSANOV (RUS) in the -81kg category was positively pedestrian and gave his opponent Marcelo GOMES (BRA) far too many opportunities to settle and eventually come up with a score, Gomes catching Lorsanov with tsubame gaeshi for a contest winning waza ari with only 40 seconds left to level the match score at 3-3.

Daria VLADIMIROVA (RUS) strode out to face Luiza CRUZ (BRA) in the +63kg category with the Brazilian out to see whether she could make it three in a row. A right sided o soto makikomi from Cruz after 30 seconds brought Vladimirova down for waza ari and set the Brazilian fans leaping. Cruz came under pressure as Vladimirova searched for a score. But there was little sign of Cruz getting caught until, with a minute left on the clock, Vladimirova launched a right sided makikomi that brought Cruz down for waza ari and from which Vladimirova immediately secured ushiro kesagatame. Vladimirova’s ippon win gave Russia a 4-3 lead in the match, leaving Brazil with a must win final contest in the +81kg category between Leonardo SANT ANA (BRA) and David BABAYAN (RUS). The two had faced one another a day earlier in the semi final of the individual competition where Babayan had come out on top. Now here in the final of the team competition. Babayan began strongly, throwing Sant Ana after 30 seconds with right uchi mata for waza ari. Thereafter, Sant Ana offered up no threat to the Russian who was perfectly happy to hold on to his lead and take the applause of his team mates as time expired leaving him the winner of the contest and Russia the winners of the match 5-3 and the title of Cadet Team World Champions.

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