We saw a lot of interesting things in a category which, despite the absence of Queen Abe Uta (JPN), kept all its promises. First there was Distria Krasniqi (KOS), reigning Olympic champion in the lower category and taking the opportunity to go up a notch with the retirement of her elder, Majlinda Kelmendi, finding her marks very well in the -52kg category.
Final, Distria Krasniqi (KOS) vs Amandine Buchard (FRA)

The least we can say is that Krasniqi was on top today as she won without really suffering against Amber Ryheul (BEL), Mascha Ballhaus (GER) and finally Reka Pupp (HUN), who despite the support of the public could do nothing against the Kosovar athlete.

We expected a lot from the return to competition of Chelsie Giles (GBR) who had skipped the World Judo Championships - Doha 2023. The first rounds were sometimes snagged but perfectly mastered by the judoka from Coventry. She still had to negotiate the semi-final against Amandine Buchard (FRA) who hasn't missed many big events lately. Sharper, more precise than Giles, it was Buchard who won to join Distria Krasniqi in the final.

Final, Distria Krasniqi (KOS) vs Amandine Buchard (FRA)

Amandine Buchard began with a clear strategy, to cancel all power coming from the Kosovan’s right hand. Initially she did it well and was able to attack with sutemi-waza and shoulder techniques but Krasniqi is not new to the game and retook control of her right hand in the second minute, evening the match somewhat. However, every time Krasniqi looked to be taking charge of the grip, Buchard had an answer, a movement, a tactic and it was clearly frustrating for the Tokyo 2021 Olympic champion.

Bronze medal contest, Gefen Primo (ISR) vs Reka Pupp (HUN)
Bronze medal contest, Gefen Primo (ISR) and Reka Pupp (HUN)

At half time just a shido apiece was displayed and so it continued, a chess match in judogi. A second shido came for the Kosovan with just 30seconds left, with her bent posture being visible, at the dictation of Buchard’s right hand. From there they went into golden score and in the first exchange of extra time the Frenchwomen applied her kata-guruma for the first time in the match and scored immediately. Having won the Masters in 2021, she doubles her tally in Budapest and takes maximum points at the perfect time before her home Games. At the end of the final, Amandine Buchard said, "It was a good day. I could try a lot of new things and now I really deserve my holiday".

Bronze medal contest, Diyora Keldiyorova (UZB) vs Chelsie Giles (GBR)

Marko Spittka's protege and recent world silver medallist, Diyora Keldiyorova (UZB), was hoping this time for a Masters' final, but her loss to Reka Pupp in the quarter-finals prevented her from approaching the gold meal. She had to settle for a match for the bronze medal against Chelsie Giles (GBR). The British judoka is known for being difficult to throw. On the other hand Keldiyorova is known for being able to throw anyone. One by one, competition after competition, the Uzbek athlete is defeating every big name in the category. After less than a minute, she dropped under Chelsie Giles for a clear ippon that gave to chance of escape. Bronze medal for Diyora Keldiyorova, to athlete who goes up and up... until where?

Reka Pupp had the chance to offer a first medal to the host country but for that she had to face Gefen Primo (ISR), who had other plans. With two shido to her name Pupp was under pressure as the golden score started. With only one shido, Primo could be a little bit more relaxed. It is with a wide uchi-mata that eventually Primo scored a waza-ari to win the bronze and halves her first victory against Pupp. The story will tell that in Jerusalem during the last Masters, Pupp defeated Primo in Israel and that this time Primo got her revenge in Hungary.

Medals, cheques and presents were presented by Mr Max-Hervé George, CEO of Ultima Capital, Partner of the International Judo Federation, and Dr Antal Kovács, Technical Vice President of the Hungarian Judo Association and Olympic Champion

Final (-52 kg)

Bronze Medal Fights (-52 kg)

See also