Day five of the World Championships in Budapest was once again brimming with surprises and extremely strong performances from the European athletes, though we weren’t quite able to snatch the full selection, six out of eight is proving that the continent are a force to be reckoned with.
In the -70kg category Croatia were celebrating well before the final block began as they had Barbara MATIC in the final against ONO Yoko (JPN). Matic was on form today and despite some gruelling contests she pulled it out the bag, only 40 seconds left on the clock she scored waza ari with tani otoshi, and Ono followed her to the ground instantly applying shime waza. Though Matic could feel it was on for a few seconds she managed to manoeuvre out and work while she ran down the clock.
Her coach and team excitedly counting down as the world title was almost in her grasp and then the gong. It was over. Barbara Matic took the gold medal and the first ever world title for Croatia, an amazing feat.
The bronze medal contests were all-European so the continent were guaranteed two hard-earned medals in this final block. The first medal came from the Netherlands Olympic selection, Sanne VAN DIJKE against Miriam BUTKEREIT (GER). Arguably this championships was one of Van Dijke’s strongest performances to date, her focus was unmatched during the preliminaries and her final medal contest, only facing difficulties in her semi final against Ono as she scored early and her opponent really applied the pressure, chasing the whole contest and not giving the Dutch an inch, eventually taking the win for Japan.
Next up for bronze was Austria’s Michaela POLLERES against Megan FLETCHER (IRL). With both athletes looking to throw it was a positive match up but in the end, Polleres was the one to score and immediately transitioned to in to osae komi. In the 2018 World Championships it was the other way around so the Austrian was more than happy to even the score. It has been eleven years since Austria last took a world medal so this was a very special achievement for the nation.
Before the World Championships here in Budapest, Nikoloz SHERAZADISHVILI (ESP) had made the decision to leave the -90kg category following the 2021 Olympic Games and test his abilities in the next category, but before he could do this, he wanted a second world title.
Watching the 2018 World Champion today, he appeared at his best, his opponents unable to escape his staple uchi mata, taking him through the quarter and semi finals against GANTULGA Altanbagana (MGL) and NAGASAWA Kenta (JPN). Meeting the Spaniard in the final was Davlat BOBONOV (UZB) and was a serious concern for Sherazadishvili, Bobonov being strong, dynamic and very difficult to control. In the first half he managed but the contest continued in to golden score and Sherazadishvili picked up two penalties, the latter for a gripping infringement. One more time he put the leg in for an uchi mata attempt but shocked his opponent with a change in direction, scoring ippon with o uchi gari. A second, and historic world title for Spain.
It was an incredible first bronze match between the apple of Hungary’s eye, TOTH Krisztian and Gantulga. It was a very even match with both picking up penalties but in the end, the Hungarian 2014 world silver medallist dominated and in front of a fantastically loud and supportive crowd, took the bronze as his opponent picked up a third shido. With the crowd cheering him on he ran off to his coach, family and a proud son. Not only celebrating his judo accomplishments but a future addition to the family!
A family occasion: TOTH Krisztian (HUN) celebrated with his family after winning his bronze medal.
Hard work put in my team Sweden. A second medal goes to Marcus NYMAN.
Bronze medal contest number two saw Marcus NYMAN (SWE) swipe the second bronze for Europe and the second medal for Sweden following the silver from Tommy MACIAS (-73kg). In the previous world championships, both were forced to settle for fifth place but have evidently put in the work needed to be a fixture on the podium. Today it was Japan he had to take on for the medal and though it was a long contest, his conviction brought him glory. Nyman disappeared from the IJF tour following the Olympic Games but instead of chasing the tour for the full cycle, enjoyed fighting in the Bundesliga, keeping his love for the sport fresh and returned in 2019 to stir up some trouble for the rest of the category.
Author: Thea Cowen