In the early rounds, the 2022 world champions, Rafaela SILVA (BRA) and TSEND-OCHIR Tsogtbaatar (MGL) were eliminated, both by underdogs; Hasret BOZKURT (TUR) and Messaoud Redouane DRIS (ALG) respectively, opening up the field for the rest of the athletes in the -57kg and -73kg categories.
Day four has been full of surprises, and unfortunate early head to heads including a round two battle between Lasha SHAVDATUASHVILI (GEO) and HASHIMOTO Soichi (JPN). The Georgian’s world hopes came to an end and in the quarter finals, so did the Japanese as Nils STUMP (SUI) joined the party and became a front runner for the title.
With Manuel LOMBARDO (ITA) and Heydarov HIDAYAT (AZE) in one semi final, Europe were guaranteed a silver medal at the very least. Lombardo can already boast this accolade at the -66kg weight, defeated by MARUYAMA Joshiro (JPN) in the 2021 final. It was an even battle, and in the end, a head diving infringement eliminated Heydarov, and he will go on to compete for his fourth world bronze.
Stump had already impressed the crowds and judo community today with his win against Hashimoto, but he wasn’t finished and took down Murodjon YULDOSHEV (UZB) in the semi final with some lovely ashi waza, doubling up on his ko soto to take his opponent down, scoring waza ari. What was important was the immediate transition in to ne waza, scoring his place in the world final with osae komi. He now goes on to prepare for his final with Lombardo.
Bozkurt is the only European competing in the final block in the -57kg category, unfortunately she missed out on her bid for gold, losing the semi final against FUNAKUBO Haruka (JPN) who goes on to contend with the 2019 world champion, Christa DEGUCHI (CAN). However she has managed to take down two Olympic champions in Doha and will now compete for bronze against the 2021 world champion, Jessica KLIMKAIT (CAN). The 22 year-old athlete from Türkiye took silver in the U23 European championships in 2022 and debuting in her first senior worlds has impressed and brought about the realisation that there is another European threat coming through.
Author: Thea Cowen