This goes without saying, but France is a major player when it comes to women's heavyweights. For many years, even for decades, the country has been present on the international scene with amazing +78kg athletes and apparently this is not going to end soon. With a 100% French final, we can already guess that this is not the last time we will see French competitors performing in that weight division. There are certainly many reasons for that, but having role models in the other age categories is definitely helping. Thus it was Grace-Esther Mienandi Lahou (FRA) and Celia Cancan (FRA), who qualified for the final, making sure that France would add another gold medal to their already impressive medal haul in Sarajevo.
Grace-Esther Mienandi Lahou (FRA) vs Celia Cancan (FRA)

Mienandi Lahou was quickly penalised with a shido for a bearhug but then she took the lead, launched a distant o-soto but as she fell it was not properly controlled, so she modified her position to throw her teammate on her back for ippon. It was both gold and silver for France.

Grace-Esther Mienandi Lahou (FRA)

The first bronze medal contest opposed Nyam-Erdene Batsuuri (MGL) and Diana Semchenko (UKR). The match could be summerised as a series of shido. At this game, Semchenko won three pieces, while Batsuuri only two; the bronze medal for Batsuuri.

Nyam-Erdene Batsuuri (MGL) vs Diana Semchenko (UKR)

With her very small figure compared other athletes in the category, Mika Nakano (JPN) had to work double hard to reach the final block. Against Grace-Esther Mienandi Lahou, she was really close to achieving the feat of the day and was just eliminated by penalties. She still had one chance left to step on the podium but for that she had to eliminate Jovana Stjepanovic (SRB).

Jovana Stjepanovic (SRB) vs Mika Nakano (JPN)

With only 71kg on the scale, Nakano was definitely the lightest competitor of the category, one kilogram above the limit is enough though to compete in the category and the least we can say is that she did really well throughout the day. Using her precise moves and her range technical skills, she managed to score a waza-ari followed by superb control in ne-waza to score ippon and win the bronze medal.

Medals, cheques and mascots were presented by Dr Lisa ALLAN, Executive Committee Member and Events Director of the International Judo Federation and Mr Admir Vražalica, International Referee of the Judo Federation of Bosnia & Herzegovina
See also