Same place. New faces. This week we can welcome back the spectators and those watching from home, to the Cadet World Championships 2023 in Zagreb. With some minor changes in the arena, there are some major changes to the competitors and the addition of two lighter weight categories. There will be four days of individual competition and we will conclude on Sunday with the greatly anticipated Mixed Team event.
Aside from the number one seed in the -44kg category, Marta BEORLEGUI OSES (ESP), the other top seeds on day one made their way in to their respective semi finals in a bid to become world champion following success on the European level.
Defeating Beorlegui Oses was Clarice RIBEIRO (BRA) who climbed back in her semi final against India’s Oliviya Devi HUIDROM after being a waza ari down in the first half of the contest. For those whose memory is still fresh from the 2022 edition of the Cadet World Championships in Sarajevo, history was made by Linthoi CHANAMBAM who took gold for India in the -57kg category. It seems that her success has inspired her younger compatriots to take on the world. Though Huidrom will not be able to claim golden success today, she is still in with a chance of a bronze.
In fact, the only European athlete to make it in to the semi final block was number two seed, Begumnaz DOGRUYOL (TUR). It was a gruelling semi final against TOGTBAATAR Otgonjargal (MGL), with the pair picking up two shidos each and headed in to golden score. A third was issued to Dogruyol for grabbing the leg after six minutes on the tatami.
The other young women’s weight category on day one included Patricia TOMANKOVA (SVK) at -40kg. Last year she was close but not quite meeting her full potential, 2023 however, has seen her dominate the category, capturing both the Cadet European Championship and European Youth Olympic Festival gold. Today the only one left standing in her way is Sabina YULDASHBEKOVA (KAZ).
Azerbaijan were in with double the chance of a finalist in the -50kg, Mahammad MAMISHOV and Nihad MAMISHOV climbed to the top of their respective halves of the draw. First up was Mahammad against EYOF champion Shota BACHOSHVILI (GEO), unfortunately for the Georgian he didn’t manage the contest well and ceded a place in the final by picking up three shidos. Nihad continued the celebration for the team of Azerbaijan by winning his contest in osae komi, making for an all-Azeri final, giving coach Rustam ALIMLI plenty of reason to rejoice.
Similarly in the -55kg weight, Azerbaijan and Georgia had another head to head with top seed Mirkhalig ISKANDAROV and EYOF champion Merabi SAMADASHVILI. This time however, it went the other way with success earned by the Georgian athlete, taking the win with juji gatame midway through the contest. Samadashvili will face Nurlan ISATAEV (KAZ) for the gold medal.
Though there was strength from Europe on day one, the Asian entry has shown tremendous opposition with three potential gold medallists as well as a strong hope for Brazil.
Author: Thea Cowen