Europe had a guaranteed bronze medal in the +78kg category as Raz HERSHKO (ISR) stood against Julia TOLOFUA (FRA). The pair have only faced each other on one occasion, during the Paris Grand Slam 2021 with the Israeli securing the win, today however, Tolofua managed to progress to the semi final only to meet team mates Romane DICKO, whereas Hershko was given the dangerous route through the repechage.
On this occasion, Tolofua wasn’t letting it go easily and both continued the contest in to golden score whilst carrying two shidos each. Eventually Hershko picked up a third, giving France the first of their two medals in this category.
Today was very tough, mentally and physically. I talked a lot with our coach Christophe (Massina) and he prepared me well, mostly in my mind. I really had to focus on keeping my ‘zen’ and be strong. It was a great day for my team but the bronze match was so strange for me, I felt like I could beat her, even if it was tactical on shidos but then the last one was given because of her hair and it felt like the wrong way to win. That being said I wouldn’t have prepared differently, it just happened that way and we took two medals.
Dicko was next up against the 2021 world bronze medallist, Beatriz SOUZA (BRA) for the title. This was the third potential gold medal for the Brazilian women following the performances of Rafaela SILVA (-57kg) and Mayra AGUIAR (-78kg). It wasn’t meant to be for Souza though, Dicko wasted no time taking down her opponent and securing osae komi for her first world medal and title.
I think coming to a world championships you know everyone here is capable of winning, so I had to really believe in myself and that it would be to take gold. You have to be the best on the day. My first thought after the ippon was “I made it, I have the red back patch.” It is my first in a world championships and I came for the gold so I am just so so happy.
2018 world champion and Olympic finalist, Guram TUSHISHVILI (GEO) made the initial impact in his bronze medal contest against Temur RAKHIMOV (TJK) with a swift o uchi gari to score waza ari but unable to transition to the ground. He managed to successfully defend his score and his place on the podium regardless of on the onslaught of attacks from his opponent but was clearly disappointed to not be in the final where the number one seed had imagined himself.
This is my second medal in a world championship which I’m happy about. It wasn’t the ending I wanted, I only came here for the gold medal so when I lost my contest I wasn’t in a good place but I knew of course I had to give my all for the medal and I think I did. I will prepare now for the Masters in Jerusalem and then for the European Championships.
Arguably the personality of the +100kg category, Roy MEYER (NED) was next up against KIM Mijong (KOR). Both athletes took bronze in the 2019 world championships while Kim was still a junior. Again in 2021 Meyer took a bronze but today it seemed unlikely with Kim taking the lead early on. This didn’t stop Meyer though and was close to scoring on a couple of occasions but realised it was just out of his grasp.
Author: Thea Cowen