Good morning Europe! An incredible start to the Olympic Games in Tokyo has seen some surprise early exits for both the men and women on day one. The lightweight competitors have done an exemplary job of premiering the judo event.
In the -48kg category, the top four seeds; Distria KRASNIQI (KOS), Daria BILODID (UKR), TONAKI Funa (JPN) and MUNKHBAT Urantsetseg (MGL) all made it through their respective quarters and in to the semi final positions, are we going to see all four on the podium?
Of the four, three were confidently making their way towards golden glory, however our 2019 world champion, Daria BILODID (UKR) took time to find her stride and was given a tough ride from Milica NIKOLIC (SRB) and Catarina COSTA (POR).
The Serbian representative provided an early surprise in the opening rounds by defeating underdog but medal hope for France, Shirine BOUKLI.
There is an even spread for the final block with chance of a medal in every colour with Costa and Shira RISHONY (ISR) both in the repechage, Krasniqi and Bilodid competing for a place in the Olympic final.
The same cannot be said for the -60kg however as we lost two of the top four in their opening contests. Robert MSHVIDOBADZE (ROC) and Francisco GARRIGOS (ESP) put in a stellar attempt but it just goes to show how level the playing field is in this category.
For Garrigos it was a repeat of a very close world championship final this year but on this occasion it was the French, Luka MKHEIDZE who came out on top, so strong today that he has powered through his quarter final contest to be a semi finalist. Mkheidze is in fact Europe’s only hope for a gold or silver medal in this category, but bronze is still up for grabs.
2019 world champion, Lukhumi CHKHVIMIANI (GEO) had an unlucky quarter final against #2 seed TAKATO Naohisa (JPN) which took them over three minutes in to golden score and was decided on shidos. In the other side of the repechage we have Tornike TSJAKADOEA (NED) who defeated Mshvidobadze, but could not escape the ne waza skills of Yung Wei YANG (TPE). The dutchman will face Artem LESIUK (UKR) for a place in the bronze medal contest.
Author: Thea Cowen