What a category! Nail-biting contests brought spectators to the edges of their seats over and over again. Jorge Fonseca (POR), so often the showman, decided he would commit to the genre of drama today, coming close to some trouble against Barratt (GBR) before catching him two minutes into golden score with the type of giant osoto-otoshi everyone loves to see.

Fonseca then moved into the quarter-final to meet Kuczera (POL), a judoka who has a 2-1 lead over the double world champion. The Pole has never won so much as a grand slam but Fonseca doesn’t faze him and in Astana today he extended his lead yet further and jumped into this grand slam semi-final. There he would have to strengthen the resolve he seems to have in such abundance as the current Olympic champion Aaron Wolf (JPN) was waiting for him.

Wolf (JPN) winning this way is impressive.

This edition of Aaron Wolf is perhaps back to his best. Cutting set-ups, easy kumi-kata solutions and the kind of inner expectation to throw for ippon that only the biggest champions can propagate.

In the second half of the draw, Paltchik was the group leader but an incorrect decision to search for mate by losing posture and releasing his grip in the queerer-final cost him dearly. After almost 6 minutes of fighting he left the space available and Zlatko Kumric (CRO) moved into it without blinking, throwing the Israeli with ko-uchi-gari. Kumric was having a day, holding Kim (KOR) for ippon and then countering Mai (GER) for ippon from waza-ari down.

Paltchik (ISR) vs Kumric (CRO).

In pool D Daniel Eich (SUI), the silver medallist in Dushanbe, obeyed the seeding and tussled his way to the semi-final for a head-to-head with Kumric. Eich’s sasae against Madsen (DEN) was periodically satisfying and raised a gasp from the crowd.

In the repechage Fonseca and Paltchik each threw to ensure they would make it to the final block. Fonseca’s was huge!

The first bronze medal contest featured Fonseca and Kumric who had lost his semi-final against Daniel Eich. The Portuguese champion needed only 20 seconds to launch Kumric with a massive o-soto-gari, from a round-the-back grip.

Fonseca (POR).

The second bronze medal would go to either Paltchik or Kuczera who unsurprisingly couldn’t challenge Wolf in their semi-final, certainly not the version of Aaron Wolf who arrived for this event. Paltchik wasn't really leading the fight but used his experience to protect a small score from the first half of the contest. Kuczera had to settle for 5th place at the end of a good day.

The final was stacked in Wolf’s favour but he decided to open up and play a little. He was experimenting with attacks not usually assigned to him and Eich took full advantage, attacking and countering at a pace. Wolf was enjoying the resistence but ultimately the left-sided o-uchi-gari to uchi-mata came and did its job again and Eich was thrown smoothly on to his back for ippon.

That uchi-mata though!

Final (-100 kg)

Bronze Medal Fights (-100 kg)

Medals, cheques and flowers were presented by Mr Maksim Rakov, world champion, and Mr Ruslan Atygayev, guest of the Kazakhstan Judo Federation.
The happiest podium on the World Judo Tour!
See also