In the -66kg category, there was great anticipation for another all-Japanese world championship final between ABE Hifumi and MARUYAMA Joshiro. Many received their wish.
Both Denis VIERU (MDA) and Vazha MARGVELASHVILI (GEO) were eliminated from the final run, with only Walide KHYAR (FRA) finding a place in the semi finals, albeit it against the current Olympic Champion, Abe. The Frenchman defeated Yago ABULADZE (AIN) in his quarter final for the first time, with a history of two losses. Although Khyar had been on fire all day, he was simply no match for the Japanese, accepting his fate in 33 seconds, following an ippon score by a double sleeved seoi nage.
Khyar will now take on AN Baul (KOR) for bronze.
Margvelashvili may not have had the chance for gold but he met the somewhat out of practice Abuladze and had the opportunity to demonstrate his repertoire, finishing with the Georgian uchi mata variation, picking up from the front before turning in for the ultimate execution. What was notable about the conclusion of this contest, was that despite the current political climate and tension between nations, there has been no lack of respect between athletes in this championship event, a credit to the values held by these judoka. Margvelashvili isn’t in the clear yet though, and will compete against Baskhuu YONDONPERENLEI (MGL) for his second world bronze.
Once again, we had a tremendous head to head between the -52kg Olympic champion and silver medallist, Abe and Amandine BUCHARD (FRA). Buchard was on the backfoot picking up two shidos but came extremely close with her trademark kata guruma in the final seconds and after feeling the danger, Abe closed the contest with four seconds left on the clock. Buchard entered the repechage and defeated JANG Seyun (KOR) in order to compete for her fourth world bronze medal against PUPP Reka (HUN).
Number one seed in the -52kg category and current -48kg Olympic champion, Distria KRASNIQI (KOS) was quietly making her way through her quarter, defeating Mascha BALLHAUS, Amber RYHEUL (BEL) and JANG Seyun (KOR) to meet the Japanese superstar in the semi. Unfortunately for Krasniqi she met the same fate as Buchard and went in to the bronze medal contest against Odette GIUFFRIDA (ITA).
Author: Thea Cowen