European bronze medallist Gili SHARIR (ISR) will be the sole representative of the host nation on the second day of the Jerusalem World Judo Masters 2022, competing for bronze in the -63kg against Katharina HAEKER (AUS). In the other bronze medal contest, Angelika SZYMANSKA (POL) will challenge Anriquelis BARRIOS (VEN).
As for the final, Laura FAZLIU (KOS) will be Europe’s hope for gold against TAKAICHI Miku (JPN). It was a strong start for Fazliu, defeating world medallist Manon DEKETER (FRA) in her opening contest, from there she became stronger and made it known she was on a mission. It was Fazliu who dashed the dreams of the home crowd by defeating Sharir for her place in the final.
It was a surprise early exit for the number one of the -73kg category Lasha SHAVDATUASHVILI (GEO) but the four-man entry from Uzbekistan took over the category, all finding a place in their respective quarter finals, Shakhram AKHADOV (UZB) making it all the way to the final. In the end, only Petru PELIVAN (MDA) will be representing the European Judo Union in the final block as he goes toe to toe with Arthur MARGELIDON (CAN) for bronze.
All eyes were on Kim POLLING (NED) this morning as she was off to a blinding start, eventually defeating the current world champion Barbara MATIC (CRO) in the quarter final. However she was unable to contend with the strength of Marie Eve GAHIE (FRA) in her semi final, nevertheless, she will compete for her sixth medal in the Masters collection. The four-title holder took bronze in 2021 defeating team mate Sanne VAN DIJKE for the medal, and it looked like it could be a repeat however Van Dijke was unable to compete in her repechage and so it will be world silver medallist, Lara CVJETKO (CRO) taking on the experienced Polling.
Gabriella WILLEMS (BEL) has been on a long road to recovery following an injury prior to the OIympic Games but today she was back on fighting form, all the way to the semi final against Olympic medallist Michaela POLLERES (AUT). However the Austrian had the edge and defeated Willems for the place against Gahie in the final, this will be the first time for the pair that they compete in a Masters final.
Saeid MOLLAEI’s history has guaranteed the support of the Israeli crowd no matter where he competes. His struggles and his settlement now in Azerbaijan has delighted the fans here and the performance he gave during his preliminaries will greatly appreciated. The support, not only from his Azeri team but the arena helped him make his way to the final of the -81kg category defeating Matthias CASSE (BEL) in his semi final, where he will meet current world champion, Tato GRIGALASHVILI (GEO).
There was a double celebration for Mollaei as an initial score was removed, and with two shidos on the board, the pressure was on for him to be on the offence against there former world champion Casse. Fortunately he thrived and scored a huge ippon to see him in with a chance of the Masters title 2022.
Casse will compete against Antonio ESPOSITO (ITA) for bronze and team mate Sami CHOUCHI (BEL) faces Alpha Oumar DJALO (FRA).
Follow the action at live.ijf.org from 17:00 local time.
Author: Thea Cowen