Like the first day of competition, arriving in Guayaquil being seeded number one was a good guarantee of success, even if we must not forget that in the lighter categories, those seeded systematically lost in finals. Joanne Van Lieshout (NED) was no exception to the rule, at least in the first part, since she was on top of the draw and qualified for the final which she played against Kaillany Cardoso of Brazil.
-63kg Final

Van Lieshout, although still a junior, is no stranger to the World Judo Tour, wining the title in January at the first Portuguese Grand Prix, a benchmark among seniors. Above all, she arrived in Ecuador crowned by her junior world title won last year in Olbia, Sardinia. Would she be able to raise her national anthem against the top seeds this year? It was Cardoso, without an international reference to date, who would provide us with the answer.

It can not be said that Cardoso did not try to win. She was in the final and she deserved it but Joanne Van Lieshout was stronger. Number one seed and current world champion, she is the first athlete here in Guayaquil to keep her title, after she executed a perfect juji-gatame for ippon.

Joanne Van Lieshout (NED)

France, having already won two medals, silver from Devictor (-52kg) and bronze from Valadier Picard (-60kg), were in the mood for gold today. At -63kg, their best chance rested on the shoulders of Melkia Auchercorne who unfortunately had to settle for a possible bronze medal only. Before that, she still had to get rid of Kurimi Ishioka (JPN), certainly not an easy task. Auchercorne seemed to take the lead with her strong grip that totally dominated her opponent.

Melkia Auchercorne (FRA) vs Kurimi Ishioka (JPN)
Melkia Auchercorne (FRA)

French athletes and especially the women’s team are known for their incredible power, associated with strong technical skills. This was again illustrated with the strong waza-ari scored by Auchercorne but Japanese competitors from their women’s team are also famous for their ne-waza skills. Ishioka caught her opponent on the ground, although luckily for her she was able to escape. It was very close but Auchercorne kept her score alive to win that bronze medal.

Agnese Zucco (ITA) vs Katarina Kristo (CRO)
Agnese Zucco (ITA)

In the second match for a bronze medal, we found Agnese Zucco (ITA), representing an Italian team with dignity, particularly in form, and Katarina Kristo from the Croatian judo school. Zucco was the first to action, scoring a waza-ari, before being almost caught on the floor the second after, but she escaped. This waza-ari might have seemed a little too early in the contest but Agnese Zucco did a really good job to hold on to it to win one more medal for Italy.

Medals, cheques and mascots were presented by Mr Ki-Young Jeon, Head Referee Director of the International Judo Federation and Mr Silvio Acacio Borges, President of the Brazilian Judo Confederation
See also