Repechage & Semi Finals
First up for Europe was PUPP Reka (HUN) who swiftly put a score on the board with uchi mata. Though it was early and there was plenty of time for her opponent PARK Da-Sol (KOR) to catch up, she became desperate which allowed Pupp to work in a smart way in ne waza. It was a straight forward contest for the Hungarian and she made it through to the bronze medal contest.
Next up was Great Britain’s hope, Chelsie GILES against the experienced world and Olympic medallist, Charline VAN SNICK (BEL). The contest entered golden score, though a strangle was very close to being applied by Giles in normal time. Only 36 seconds in to golden score, the British athlete scored ippon, she went in for an uchi mata attack, which Van Snick attempted to counter but Giles anticipated this and switched to score with co-uchi gari.
2016 Olympic silver medallist Odette GIUFFRIDA (ITA) took the fight to home favourite ABE Uta (JPN), but the defence was so great from both that neither were able to get a point on the board before golden score, nor had any shidos had been accumulated. This is when the arena came to life, supporting both of the athletes in this tense semi-final. Unfortunately for Giuffrida it was an uchi mata that scored for Abe.
In contrast, Amandine BUCHARD (FRA) managed to defeat Fabienne KOCHER (SUI) in only six seconds with a signature move of hers, kata-guruma. Clearly an emotional win, realising she had safely made her way in to the gold medal contest against Abe. The pair have fought each other on six occasions with the Japanese taking five wins, however Buchard proved she is not unbeatable in the 2019 Osaka Grand Slam final.
In the first of the men’s repechage contests, Manuel LOMBARDO (ITA) faced YONDONPERENLEI Baskhuu (MGL) which was a gruelling contest that entered golden score. With two shidos on the board, a waza ari score was given to the Mongolian but then taken away and instead a shido given for a gripping infringement on the leg which meant he was eliminated from the contest. This sent Lombardo in to the bronze medal contest.
The all-European repechage for men was between Adrian GOMBOC (SLO) and Baruch SHMAILOV (ISR), immediately the pair were head to head fighting for grips. A tense contest ran in to golden score but ultimately it was Shmailov who scored waza ari to take the win.
Vazha MARGVELASHVILI (GEO) had a tough opponent in world champion and Olympic silver medallist AN Baul (KOR) in the first of the semi-final contests. So tough that the pair picked up shidos for passivity as neither were able to adapt quick enough to find a way to attack. 2.58 in to golden score, An attempted to counter an attack from Margvelashvili but he was simply too tired to execute and the Georgian guided his opponent down to score waza ari.
PUPP Reka (HUN) v Odette GIUFFRIDA (ITA)
A brilliant contest was had between Pupp and Giuffrida but in the end it was the Italian who really came to life in the golden score, desperate to snatch another Olympic medal. A reverse seoi nage earned her the bronze medal and resulted in a very emotional display of relief.
Chelsie GILES (GBR) v Fabienne KOCHER (SUI)
Kocher came out all guns blazing following her semi final error as she was caught very much off guard but she didn’t let it happen again. However the first score went on the board for Giles, countering an uchi mata attempt from the Swiss. With exactly one minute left on the clock Giles scored a second waza ari, the bronze now hers as well as the first medal for Great Britain in these Olympic Games.
Amandine BUCHARD (FRA) v ABE Uta (JPN)
The golden score final. An undoubtedly incredible final that ran over eight minutes of contest time but in the end went to the 21 year-old Japanese athlete, Abe. Throughout the day Buchard demonstrated what it means to be a champion and also in defeat, was gracious and displayed great sportsmanship for her opponent. A brilliant result for France.
Manuel LOMBARDO (ITA) v AN Baul (KOR)
Lombardo may have come in as a favourite to reach the final but a misstep caused him to move down to fight for bronze. It simply wasn’t the Italian’s day today, and at the hands of An executing a tremendous seoi nage, there was just no escape. We have no doubt Paris 2024 will be calling his name now.
Baruch SHMAILOV (ISR) v Daniel CARGNIN (BRA)
An exciting contest, Cargnin picked up a score early on and came close to disqualification which was heavily debated between the referees. He was given the opportunity to continue and was able to hold on to his score and evade being thrown by Shmailov. After a triumphant day, it was an unfortunate end for Israel.
ABE Hifumi (JPN) v Vazha MARGVELASHVILI (GEO)
After his sister took the gold in the -52kg category, Abe had some heavy expectations. A terribly difficult contest, but the Japanese waited patiently for his moment, Margvelashvili did a stellar job to avoid the transition to ne waza. Unfortunately for the Georgian he was unable to catch up and instead took the silver medal. This is Margvelashvili’s best result to date and what a place to take it, in the home of judo.
Author: Thea Cowen