Twenty-eight years ago in the 1993 World Championships, Hamilton, Johanna HAGN took the gold medal for Germany in the +72kg weight category. Today, Germany were finally able to celebrate a new female world champion with Anna Maria WAGNER.
The 25 year-old had some added pressure in the build up to the Tokyo Olympic Games as she was in a national race with team mate Luise MALZAHN but following gold medals in two Grand Slams this year, she was definitely favoured. Not only has this achievement confirmed the selection for Germany but it was such an incredible personal win for Wagner she was simply overcome with happiness, her tears for herself as well as her team that have helped her reach this point.
It was a strong preliminary round for the now -78kg world champion, defeating the 2009 world champion and four-time world medallist Marhinde VERKERK (NED) who bowed out of her judo career in this event. Next up was the very difficult UMEKI Mami (JPN) but Wagner controlled the contest well and managed to put a score on the board in the final minute and with no penalties on the board, she felt comfortable and relaxed, confident she could very soon be in the final.
With much of the pressure off, and only one more contest to go, it was a happy feeling being a finalist in the world championships before the Olympic Games. Originally using this as a pre-game to Tokyo, she wasn’t expecting that this would end up being her day. Competing against the 2019 world champion, Madeleine MALONGA (FRA) was no easy feat and the contest ran in to golden score, only a single waza ari score needed to take the gold.
Less than a minute in to extra time, Wagner executed a perfectly timed uchi mata to score and become the 2021 world champion and ran to celebrate with her coach and team, a very emotional and long overdue women’s title for the German team.
Author: Thea Cowen