Dutch judoka Guusje Steenhuis sat at the top of the draw in Baku, 18 grand slam medals already in her cabinet. She won bronze in Paris just two weeks ago and appears to be enjoying the momentum, winning comfortably in round one in ne-waza before throwing Dudenaite (LTU) to win pool A.
Round 1.

Steenhuis is only the first of the top four seeds but each of them followed suit, at least to the quarter-final stages. Lobnik (SLO) and Olek (GER) each won their respective quarter-finals too but it was at that point that Lytvynenko (UKR), top seed in pool C, left the race to gold, beaten by her teammate, up and coming powerhouse Yuliia Kurchenko.

Olek’s route to the semi-final included a win over Kuka (KOS) that was impressive, not just because of the enormity of her obi-tori-gaeshi after 1:24 but also because it only scored waza-ari and she had to manage the rest of the contest positively under a thunderstorm of heavy gripping and pressured exchanges. Olek withstood all that came her way, not picking up a single shido; impressive indeed.

Olek (GER) vs Kuka (KOS).

Kurchenko and Anna Monta Olek should have had an excellent semi-final but Kurchenko didn’t allow it to play out, throwing for waza-ari after just 40 seconds and continuing into the hold. With her semi-final won, it was time to prepare for her first grand slam final, to be fought against Steenhuis, the Dutchwoman looking for her 6th grand slam gold.

Kurchenko (UKR) vs Olek (GER).

Although Steenhuis reached the final as the highest ranked judoka of the group, obeying the list, the other 3 top seeds didn’t fall too far, with all 3 of them coming to the final block. Olek would have to pass Pacut-Kloczko (POL) for her medal and pass her, she did. It was a waza-ari that she held from very early in the contest, managing the time and her opponent expertly. Olek remains behind Wagner and Boehm but she's chasing hard and now has another -78 kg WJT medal to add to the German pot.

Bronze medal contest, Yelyzaveta Lytvynenko (UKR) vs Metka Lobnik (SLO)

Lytvynenko and Lobnik fought for the remaining podium place. Lytvynenko took the win half a minute into golden score. Despite the time it took to get there, the Ukrainian looked to be leading throughout, using a wide range of ashi-waza techniques, feeling every movement from her opponent. She countered a seoi-otoshi attempt from Lobnik to score and head to the podium.

Bronze medallist, Anna Monta Olek (GER)

In the final it started evenly, Kurchenko less able to dominate than she had been during the morning session. As the time went on, Steenhuis found better and better access for her makikomi and the Ukranian racked up two penalties.

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

As normal time finished and the golden score period advanced, Steenhuis played a different strategy and caught Kurchenko's advancing foot, scoring ippon with a perfect ko-uchi-gari. Both women have had a great day but Steenhuis has now earned her 7th grand slam gold medal.

Medals, cheques and flowers were presented by Mr Vladimir Barta, IJF Head Sport Director and Mr Orkhan Safarov, world medallist and European champion

Final (-78 kg)

See also