The -100kg category is extremely unpredictable, but seeing the early exits from Dutch duo Michael KORREL and Simeon CATHARINA was a very clear demonstration that today would surprise more than others. What we can say is that todays results proved that age is simply a number, even in an extremely tough physical contact sport like this, two of the more senior and successful athletes on the IJF tour have found themselves in yet another world final. Let’s see who they are…
Even the number one seed and a solid bet for gold, Ilia SULAMANIDZE (GEO) was caught off guard by Arman ADAMIAN (AIN) in his quarter final sending him in to the repechage against Kyle REYES (CAN). The Canadian is a very talented and well crafted athlete so the typically relaxed Georgian was having to play a long and somewhat safe game to ensure his place for bronze. Fortunately a waza ari scoring sumi gaeshi meant he was still in with a chance of being on the podium in Doha.
Adamian went on to defeat Shady ELNAHAS (CAN) in the semi final and take his place in his first senior world final.
Only Elnahas and Zelym KOTSOIEV (AZE) managed to represent their seeding, two top four athletes to win their quarters. Kotsoiev defeated Aleksandar KUKOLJ (SRB), Aaron FARA (AUT) and Peter PALTCHIK (ISR) on his way to the semi final against the unseeded underdog Lukas KRPALEK (CZE). Already the title holder in the -100kg in 2014, Krpalek conquered this category and then the +100kg before returning.
This was an extremely tough semi final for both and they went in to golden score but an uchi mata was executed by Kotsoiev, and was celebrated as it was an assumed waza ari score but unfortunately for the Azerbaijan representative, the side of his head brushed the tatami, resulting in a ‘head dive’ infringement, handing Krpalek a place in the final against Adamian.
As for the -78kg category, the repechage contests only saw current European champion, Alina BÖHM (GER) trying to find a place in the final block, but was defeated by current Olympic champion HAMADA Shori (JPN).
Throughout the day we saw the 2011 world champion and six time Paris Grand Alam winner, Audrey TCHEUMEO of France blast her way through to the semi finals against Guusje STEEHUIS (NED). Tcheumeo’s trademark o uchi gari was enough for the place in the final, an incredible achievement for an athlete who took her first IJF World Tour medal 13 years ago.
On the opposite side of the draw, firecracker and number one seed Alice BELLANDI (ITA) took on Inbar LANIR (ISR), scoring in the first minute with seoi nage. However the score did not deter Lanir and she pulled in her Italian opponent, throwing her for ippon with tomoe nage. The Israeli athlete will contend with Tcheumeo for the world title, the pair have yet to meet on the international stage.
Author: Thea Cowen