Alice Bellandi is moving like a train through the opposition, not just today, but in general. There is a feeling about her, that she is strong beyond expectation and that the robustness of her physical preparation makes her impervious to any ordinary opposition. She’s driven, well trained and building momentum.
Final Madeleine MALONGA (FRA) vs Alice BELLANDI (ITA)

In Tel Aviv she had a bye in the first round, as is often the way for a seeded athlete; number 2 in Israel but we have the distinct impression she’s chasing the number one slot. If she keeps going the way she is, she might just get there.

Gold Medallist Alice BELLANDI (ITA)

In her first match, a round two contest against Otgonbayar (MGL), she looked like she was drilling her technique, gripping both sleeves and rolling through a perfect, unhindered seoi-otoshi after only 14 seconds. No resistance, no other option, just a clear win and she left the tatami again.

It took Alice one minute to dispatch Posvite (FRA) in the quarter-final, to walk into a semi-final against home favourite Lanir (ISR). The other semi-final brought Umeki (JPN) and Malonga (FRA) together, world champion against world champion, each of them arriving unscathed with only minor hurdles to jump along the way. The 4 semi-finalists were, quite frankly, leagues above the rest, even with the likes of Sampaio (POR), Powell (GBR) and another world champion, Wagner (GER), to contend with.

Gold Medallist Alice BELLANDI (ITA)

Bellandi’s semi-final was exactly that, her semi-final! A minute and 20 seconds is all it took to throw and hold to meet the Frenchwoman in the final. Malonga threw Umeki for waza-ari and held her ground, not an easy thing to do but this was the hardest either finalist had to work today.

In the second category of the final block Sampaio (POR) refused to yield to the home crowd pressure and threw Lanir (ISR) in the opening exchange. It was awarded waza-ari at first but quickly levelled-up to ippon after Commission review.

The second bronze medal match, fought between Posvite (FRA), who won the World Judo Masters in 2019, and 2015 world champion Umeki (JPN), also began at a pace. Posvite’s heavy right hand made things difficult for Umeki but her answer was good, to re-impose her heavy left hand in the next exchange. Right vs left and European vs Asian made for an exciting match, both attacking and committing to the essence of competitive judo.

Bronze medal contest, Fanny Estelle POSVITE (FRA) vs Mami UMEKI (JPN)

With a minute to go and there being a shido on the French side and two beside Umeki’s name, the latter attempted an enormous ashi-guruma but just dropped the grips at the last second, allowing Posvite to escape. Into golden score and right away the French judoka attacked again but without impetus, leaving herself vulnerable on the floor and Umeki capitalised, turning her over and holding for 20 seconds to earn ippon.

For the final, the two walked into the arena at very different paces. Malonga strode to the mat with confidence and determination while the Italian took her time and seemed to be concentrating on good breathing and pinpoint focus. 

Bronze medal contest, Patricia SAMPAIO (POR) vs Inbar LANIR (ISR)

The first score came from Bellandi from a combination of osoto-gari and ni-dan-ko-soto-gari. Things became difficult for her from there with the French world champion dominating the gripping more and more. With 45 seconds left and shido La recorded for both athletes, Bellandi re-found her pace and caught ten ends of Malinga’s sleeves, facilitating a barrage of seoi-otoshi attacks. By the end it wasn’t so beautiful but it was powerful and clever and enjoyable. Bellandi won and added another gold medal to her rapidly increasing account.

Medals cheques and flowers were presented by Mr Vladimir BARTA, Head Sport Director of the International Judo Federation and Mr Noam GREENBERG, CEO of the Israel Judo Association

Final (-78 kg)

Bronze Medal Fights (-78 kg)

See also