Most of the gold medal winners were also the favourites. For the men in the J1 categories, both Arthur Cavalcante da Silva (BRA) and Ilham Zakiyev (AZE) were number one seeds and delivered on those expectations, winning all their contests by ippon. In the men’s J2 categories, former world champions took the wins. Oleksandr Nazarenko (UKR) and Zviad Gogotchuri (GEO) both overpowered their opponents to take golds. For the women, the same could be said about the J1 -70 and +70 and J2 +70 categories. Nicolina Pernheim (SWE), Anastasiia Harnyk (UKR) and Carolina Costa (ITA) were the clear favourites and were not threatened on their way to the top of the podium.
1. The first real surprise of today came from the Chinese team. Shi Yijie defeated number 1 seed Priscilla Gagne (CAN) and continued to surprise during the day. In the final she outclassed world bronze medallist Anzhela Havrysiuk (UKR) to pick up a second gold for the People’s Republic of China.
2. In the +90kg J1 category, favourite llham Zakiyev (AZE) was untouchable today. With the French heavyweights Romuald Raboteur and Jason Grandry missing, as well as current world champion Wilians Silva de Araujo (BRA), it looked like a walk in the park for the national hero. He needed only a few minutes to throw all of his opponents with his signature move, yoko-o-toshi.
3. Although we haven’t seen as much ne-waza as normal, we can always count on Christopher Skelley (GBR). The groundwork specialist suffered a defeat in the semi-finals of the +100kg J2 category against eventual champion Zviad Gogotchuri (GEO), but looked for redemption against Talgat Azhgaliyev (KAZ) and with a perfectly executed juji-gatame, he forced Azhgaliyev to tap out.
4. -90kg J1 delivered one of the most versatile contests of today. Number 1 seed Arthur Cavalcante da Silva (BRA) was put to the test against Daniel Powell of Great Britain. Both athletes took us to the edge of our seats as the attacks piled up and each marked a wazari on the board. It was Cavalcante that came up with a beautiful maki-komi though, to take the gold.
5. The -70kg J2 category might have been the most interesting category to watch today. Since the removal of the -63kg category for VI judo, several of the top athletes were forced to move up to the -70kg category. Until today, it didn’t make a difference for reigning Paralympic champion Alana Maldonado (BRA), who has been undefeated since 2021. With two -63kg Paralympic medallists present, the main question again was if anyone could get any closer to beating the champion, Maldonado? The answer was yes! In a close match with Wang Yue (CHN), Paralympic bronze medallist at -63kg, it was the first time seeing the Brazilian struggle. In golden score, Wang landed an o-uchi-gari with perfect timing and scored waza-ri, enough to break the reign of Maldonado. Surprisingly, it was not Wang in the end who won the category but the Paralypmic champion from -63kg, Khanim Huseynova (AZE). Together with Wang, she created a spectacle to decide who would take the gold medal today. While Wang looked more in control with her kumi-kata, it was Huseynova who took more risks by going in for big throws. With each having a waza-ari on the board, Huseynova threw in her hips one more time and took Wang over for a second waza-ari.
All the images of day 2: CLICK HERE