The number one seed arrived ready, very ready. Today Christa Deguchi was simply unshakable. All contests were finished in normal time with only her quarter-final against Cai (CHN) going the full distance. Christa was calm but laser-focussed and with the sharpness that attracted so much attention when she first arrived on he World Judo Tour in 2017. Her Masters gold in Jerusalem was not an accident and after a period of disappointment and recovery Deguchi seems fully fuelled on her road to Paris. She has one problem, by the name of Klimkait, but today she flew solo and with no additional domestic stress she managed things very well indeed.
-57kg Final, Christa Deguchi (CAN) vs Rafaela Silva (BRA)

In the final she met with number two seed, Rafaela Silva, who only made it there by a hair, having had an 11 minute semi-final with Bilodid (UKR), a contest which looked throughout like a Ukrainian victory waiting to happen. Silva took the win in the end but it was not an easy pass. 

Cai, who gave Deguchi her toughest fight of the day, put China under the spotlight early in the tournament. The new heavyweight women have been most successful up to now for this fledgling team but today the -57kg category was the start of the Chinese campaign in Antalya. She beat Munkhtsedev (MGL) and Kim (KOR) before dealing with the seeded German, Starke, to set up that semi-final with Christa. Losing that dropped her into a bronze medal contest with Slovenia’s Kaja Kajzer. 

Gold Medallist Rafaela Silva

Cai came out at quite some speed by Kajzer matched it and after a minute and a half it was the Slovenian who took the lead, scoring from a 3 technique combination which finished with a left-sided o-uchi-gari. Kajzer widened the distance from that point on but did not slow down. There was a powerful o-soto-gari attempt with half a minute to go but Kajzer braced it well and held her nerve for the remaining seconds to take the bronze. One of the two would win their first grand slam medal today; Cai would have to wait for another event to record hers. 

The other bronze medal was discussed by Ballhaus (GER) and Jessica Lima (BRA), each arriving after significant victories. The Brazilian took out last week’s silver medallist, Perisic (SRB) while 22 year old Ballhaus dealt with Nelson Levy (ISR) and threw her name in the ring for her first ever medal on the World Judo Tour. 

Bronze medal contest, Qi Cai (CHN) vs Kaja Kajzer (SLO)

Lima took the win, only her second medal at a grand slam, after employing a well-timed seoi-otoshi for waza-ari and then withstanding a brutal onslaught from Ballhaus to the end of the 4 minutes. Lima hung a second Brazilian flag above the -57kg rostrum in Antalya with her teammate Silva in the last final of the day. 

Bronze medal contest, Seija Ballhous (GER) vs Jessica Lima (BRA)

Silva and Deguchi know each other well enough, from the World Judo Tour but also their continental rivalry. Each has won the world championships but only Silva has Olympic gold too. Who looked more precise today? Deguchi is the answer but in this classic left versus right battle there was a cancelling out of energy and neither looked able to break the stalemate. However, with just a few seconds remaining, Silva threw in a big left uchi-mata and as Deguchi hopped off it, the Brazilian launched into the space with a right ko-uchi and scored. Four seconds was not sufficient for the Canadian to equalise or lead and so the gold was secured. Two medals for Brazil in one category shows depth but Deguchi had a good day all the same. 

Medals, cheques and flowers were presented by Mr Florin Daniel LASCAU, Head Referee Director of the International Judo Federation and Mr Cihad YUSUFOGLU, Vice President of the Turkish Judo Federation

Final (-57 kg)

Bronze Medal Fights (-57 kg)

For photos of Antalya and all IJF events, go to

See also