Day four of the senior world championships in Tashkent was a little stronger for Europe than in the previous days, seeing two Europeans in the final of the -81kg category, an all-European bronze in the same category and two all-European bronze matches in the -63kg category ensuring five medals for the continent.
On adjacent tatami, current world champion, Matthias CASSE (BEL) came very close to losing his red back patch, down a waza ari score to FUJIWARA Sotaro (JPN), and with only 11 seconds left on the clock in this semi final, he delivered a devastating blow to the Japanese with a sharp, ippon-scoring o uchi gari.
2021 silver medallist, Tato GRIGALASHVILI (GEO) defeated current Olympic champion, NAGASE Takanori (JPN) in his quarter final as well as 2018 world champion Saied MOLLAEI (AZE) in the semi final, only to find himself in a rematch with Casse. The pair battled it out last year for the title and this is the Georgian’s opportunity to turn the tables and take the first medal for his nation.
In an unfortunate turn of events, the Japanese athletes face each other for bronze and in the other, after the semi final loss, Mollaei was sent in to the bronze contest to contend with Olympic bronze medallist Shamil BORCHASHVILI (AUT).
In the -63 kg category Barbara TIMO (POR) and Manon DEKETER (FRA) were unable to defeat their respective opponents in their semi final contests and instead will compete against Florentina IVANESCU (ROU) and Angelika SZYMANSKA (POL).
Author: Thea Cowen