Barbara Matic, double world champion and Croatian heroine, took 9 seconds to win her first contest but struggled in the next. She won but it was awkward and long and not what Barbara was looking for.
Final Ai Tsunoda Roustant (ESP) vs Marie Eve Gahier (FRA)

In the quarter-final she met Teltsidou (GRE), a powerful athlete with hip throws that can floor the best. She doesn’t medal often but she’s never to be discounted. She made Matic work hard for the win but the win came and set-up a semi-final with 2022 junior European and world champion Ai Tsunoda Roustant (ESP), who, incidentally, won bronze at the Tokyo Grand Slam in December last year and proved that she is not a junior any more.

Final Ai Tsunoda Roustant (ESP) and Marie Eve Gahier (FRA)

That semi-final was a surprise for one and a shock for the other. Just over a minute into golden score Tsunoda Roustant felt the movement and went with it, rolling Matic off her and on to the tatami for waza-ari. Matic was now to fight for bronze while the young Spanish judoka would go on to fight for gold against a home crowd favourite, one with a not-too-distant red back patch!

Gahie, 2019 world champion, and teammate Margaux Pinot were drawn in the same quarter and with the rest of pool not being the most experienced, it seemed inevitable that they would meet. The know each other very well indeed and expectations suggested a penalty-laden win. It went exactly that way, in favour of Gahie but it was anything but dull, a real battle of wills.

Coughlan (AUS) gave her best work last week in Portugal, winning her first World Judo Tour gold, but should couldn’t reproduce that level a week later and she left the Accor Arena Bercy after a win and a loss, with Brazilian Ellen Froner passing her and then also throwing Kim Polling for waza-ari in the quarter-final. Froner lost the semi-final to a determined Gahie but she fought well for the bronze against Teltsidou.

Froner began with only one intention, to throw for ippon. She went for it after only 19 seconds and only narrowly missed the target, notching up a half point from a well prepared kata-guruma. A minute and a half later and the Greek equalised with a makikomi. She tried to transition to the hold too but Froner reacted too well.

The contest continued but neither could find a second score and eventually Teltsidou dropped the pace and left an opening that the referee had to fill. Froner won by penalties after a great day in which she inscribed her name on a very special rostrum for the first time.

The second bronze was between Polling and Matic, an incredible line-up worthy of a great final in anyone’s book. It was a clean and respectful contest with both judoka hunting the throw and both gripping positively. With 30 seconds to go and an even scoresheet, Matic prepared and executed an attack which was first rewarded with a waza-ari but upon review the score was cancelled. Matic made contact with the mat head first and was duly disqualified to give Polling her 13th grand slam medal.

Bronze medal contest Kim Polling (NED) vs Barbara Matic (CRO)

The final was led by Tsunoda Roustant from the beginning. She is powerful and as the months and years roll on her precision is tightening up making her more and more a formidable opponent. Gahie struggled to find any space for attack and was penalised for it. Tsunoda Roustant is a big fan of seoi-nage and seoi-otoshi and she applied them in turn and repeatedly. The third shido came as a matter of course for Gahie, it had become inevitable.

Bronze medal contest: Elisavet Ttltsidou (GRE) vs Ellen Froner (BRA)

In their customary way, 20 year old Ai Tsunoda Roustant and her coach, also her mother, bowed to one another and exhaled a giant sigh of satisfaction. Today’s work has been done well.

Ai Tsunoda Roustant's coach and mother said, "Indeed, today has been a great day. We will now keep training and improving."

Medals, cheques and flowers were presented by Mrs Aïcha GARAD ALI, President of the National Olympic Committee of Djibouti and IOC Member and Ms Magali BATON, Member of the Board of France Judo

Final (-70 kg)

Bronze Medal Fights (-70 kg)

See also