On the fourth and final day of individual competition, Japan were unable to find their way in to the final block of two categories, the -78kg and +100kg categories.
It was a wonderful day for the current Junior European Champion, Lieke DERKS (NED), who really brought it home for the spectators in The Hague last month, but also gave a champion performance today in the lightest of the women’s category, securing her place in the final with a crippling sangaku hold against Ilana BOUVIER (FRA).
KIM Minju (KOR) will be joining Derks in the final, and the Dutch athlete will be looking out for her final opponents deep drop seoi nage, ensuring it doesn’t catch her and prevent her taking home the gold medal. This will be a big achievement for Derks who is active on the IJF World Tour, doubling up on her major successes in 2023.
ARAI Dota in the – 100kg kept the trend going for team Japan, taking a place in the final, defeating Parviz ABDURAKHMONOV (TJK) with a huge o soto gari, reaching across his opponent and driving down for ippon. Another Junior European Champion, Jean CARLETTI (ITA) fought his way through his quarter to meet Rustam SHORAKHMATOV (UZB), it was a strong contest but in the end, Carletti was sent to the bronze medal contest after a devastating ko soto gake from the Uzbekistan judoka.
Though Japan hadn’t secured places in -78kg and +100kg, they had an opportunity for a national final in the +78kg category. MUKUNOKI Miki (JPN) struggled initially to find a way in against the current Cadet World Champion, LEE Hyeonji (KOR), picking up two shidos, but before the final minute they were even with penalties. Mukunoki finally scored waza ari with o uchi gari, completing the contest in osaekomi with eight seconds left on the clock.
Europe had an opportunity to take a place in the +78kg final from Tiziana MARINI (ITA), if she could work her way past ARAI Mao (JPN) but it wasn’t meant to be, Arai managed to secure osae komi for the win to face her team mate Mukunoki in the final.
As for the +100kg junior men, current Cadet European Champion Ramazan AHMADOV (AZE) took on this years EYOF champion, Ibrahim TATAROGLU (TUR), the latter scoring first with harai goshi. Ahamdov attempted a drop seoi nage but it simply wasn’t strong enough, Tataroglu countered and sealed his fate in the junior world final. On the other side of the draw, we saw a rematch of the Junior European Championships final; eventual champion Shalva GURESHIDZE (GEO) met Giannis ANTONIOU (CYP).
Unfortunately for the Cypriot he was unable to reverse the last result and once again, Gureshidze took the win with an ippon scoring drop morote seoi nage, driving up following the entry with incredible power.
Author: Thea Cowen