This group is truly elite. Event after event the world medallists of the category, always hungry for results and performance, gather to fight for supremacy and for personal honour.
Final, Yuliia Kurchenko (UKR) vs Guusje Steenhuis (NED)

The number one seed was actually unable to compete due to illness and her compatriot, Alina Boehm took full advantage during the preliminaries, making her way to the semi-final stages without looking back. She dealt with China’s 2022 world silver Medallist Zhenzhao Ma to get there. There though, she came a cropper, losing to the chasing Ukrainian, Yuliia Kurchenko, eager to pass her teammate, Lytvynenko.

Final, Yuliia Kurchenko (UKR) vs Guusje Steenhuis (NED)

Knowing that Kurchenko reached the final, scrolling down the draw to the position of the other Ukrainian, we find Lytvynenko also began well, passing rhetorically British world and European medallist Natalie Powell before also taking out France’s 2011 world champion Audrey Tcheumeo. Tcheumeo’s loss here is also significant as the French team have yet to decide the -78 kg slot for their home Games this coming summer.

Gold medallist, Yuliia Kurchenko (UKR)

In the semi-final she had the fully in form Dutchwoman Guusje Steenhuis but that was a step too far and Steenhuis took the win and the place in the final, forcing Lytvynenko into a bronze medal contests she had not envisaged being in.

The first bronze medal contest therefore pitted Ma and Lytvynenko against each other. It was very even and took until deep into golden score for Lytvynenko to finally make her sasae-tsuri-komi-ashi work, scoring a waza-ari to grab a place on tne podium.

Gold medallist, Yuliia Kurchenko (UKR)

The second bronze medal would go to either Tcheumeo or Boehm. Both arrived needing the win to strengthen their cause within their respective federations, with huge domestic competition weighing on their minds. Only one could take the medal though and eventually it was Alina Boehm who threw in golden score to reach the podium.

Bronze medal contest, Audrey Tcheumeo (FRA) vs Alina Boehm (GER)
Bronze medallist, Yelyzaveta Lytvynenko (UKR)

The final, between Kurchenko and Steenhuis was bound to be a contest of power. Steenhuis was immediately to action with her makikomi but the Ukrainian was well prepared. After several attempts from the Dutchwoman, Kurchenko countered one such attack and it earned her an ippon, a gold medal and a much needed 1000 workd ranking points.

Medals, cheques and flowers were presented by Mr Nicolas Messner, IJF Media and Judo for Peace Director, and Dr Zurab Kakhabrishvili, Member of the EJU Medical Commission

Final (-78 kg)

Bronze Medal Fights (-78 kg)

See also