Day three of the World Judo Championships 2021 saw the first all-European final in the -73kg category, guaranteeing two medals for the continent between Sweden and Georgia. These were added to the medals earned in the -57kg category by Theresa STOLL (GER) and Nora GJAKOVA (KOS) as well as the -73kg bronze medal from Bilal CILOGLU (TUR).
It was unfortunate day for the host nation as we saw fan favourites KARAKAS Hedwig and UNGVARI Miklos fall out before the final block but the support in the crowd was sensational. Particularly for Ungvari who was dealt a tough quarter final against Lasha SHAVDATUASHVILI (GEO), a rematch of the -66kg final in the 2012 London Olympic Games.
For Shavdatuashvili, it wasn’t only a contest against Ungvari but the crowd, which was carried in to over three minutes of golden score. It was decided on penalties but both were worthy contenders, both still at world championship level nine years after their Olympic success. This sent the Georgian in to the semi final against another strong opponent, eventual bronze medallist, Ciloglu, which once again became a golden score decision. This time however, it would be a waza ari scoring o uchi gari that landed Shavdatuashvili in to the final.
Meeting him there was Tommy MACIAS (SWE). Neither athletes could brag of an easy journey but especially for Macias, his semi final against HASHIMOTO Soichi (JPN) was excruciating. As if it wasn’t enough that both were giving their all, decision changes regarding scores and penalties made it a frustrating experience and tested the mental strength of the Swedish athlete.
An initial score saw Macias celebrate his place in the final, only for the decision to be reversed, and not long later he was issued a shido which, added to the two already on the board meant he lost the fight. From elation to devastation. Then another reversal. He was back in the fight. All of which was happening in golden score. Finally, a second sumi gaeshi secured Macias’ place in the final.
A ferocious first exchange from Shavdatuashvili set the tone of the contest. Half way in and only a single shido on the board, both looking to win positively. Attack, escape, attack, escape. The best of the best met and for both maybe an unsatisfactory end as the contest was decided on penalties, but this still meant a world title for the Georgian, making him the first in history to become Olympic, world and European champion and Macias took the first world silver in history for Swedish men.
In the women’s -57kg category, Gjakova lost out only to the now world champion, Jessica KLIMKAIT (CAN) in the semi final, but made a point that she was not leaving without a medal. The Kosovo athlete took her first world medal today, and the first for her country in this tournament after a couple of disappointing exits.
Her final bout against Marisa PERISIC (SRB) was perhaps a bit unmatched, the young Serbian has catapulted to success this year with some tremendous wins, but Gjakova certainly had experience on her side and dominated the contest forcing Perisic to pick up shidos and eventually was scored against and had no hope of evening the score.
With the main focus of the day being on the olympic selection of the Canadian women, the pressure proved too much for Christa DEGUCHI (CAN) as she was unable to place in the final, the semi final loss taking its toll mentally as she went in to the bronze fight against Theresa STOLL (GER). Deguchi’s head was no longer in it and Stoll was on top form making it clear which way the contest would go. A strong make komi from the German winning her a bronze and her first world medal. An incredible day for the 25 year-old.
Author: Thea Cowen