“First, I always look at who from the top seeds make it through to the final. Lucy Renshall was the only one who came through at -63kg today. I also look how many of the top ten in the world are present. I gave this category 5 stars as 3 of the top four in the world are here, in fact numbers 2, 3, 4, 6 & 10 are competing.
One really positive note I remember from the referee briefing prior to the first day, is the idea that the athletes may have had some difficulty with the new gripping rules but there have been almost no problems at all. The defensive situation of breaking grips and having to start exchanges again is gone and in my eyes it makes for more attractive judo.
I have also seen very nice attacks from the big names in ne-waza. Renshall, Casse and Gahie are all very comfortable on the ground and apply fast, well-drilled, confident techniques that can be the solutions to tricky tachi-waza circumstances. This ability sets them apart from the rest.
I’ve noticed that today there were a lot of ura-nage attempts but some judoka are already finding answers for that. At -63kg Barrios (VEN) was able to use Sharir’s (ISR) ura-nage attempt against her and win a place in the semi-final. At -73kg Rustam Orujov (AZE) also lost that way, in the 3rd round. Smagulov (KAZ) threw with it in his opening contest but his failed attempt in the semi-final caused him to lose.
There were a few very long golden scores today. At -81kg Ungvari (HUN) and Gramkow (GER) continued after normal time for a further 5m 40s. The referee, Mr Ramaekers, controlled it perfectly. Each had 2 shido and we could think the referee might find a reason to give a 3rd to one of them but he didn’t, he allowed the action to continue, which was furious and energetic throughout and that eventually yielded a great ippon from Ungvari.
Ressel also won a golden score that went on for over 3 minutes with Esposito and both men showed great judo throughout.
In the Casse (BEL) and Schimidt (BRA) golden score, I felt disappointed by the reaction of the Brazilian coach, who had to leave and then the athlete started to behave badly too. This made me want to side with the Belgian, which is something I try very hard to avoid, always staying impartial. I’m sure this affected spectators in the same way.”
At the end of the contest the Belgian lost and then his coach was also not so respectful.
“The coaches have to lead the way, realising that they don’t help the athletes when they are too emotional at the side of the mat. This led to the Brazilian coach not being with his athlete in the final and this penalised them both and in fact their whole team.
All in all today there was a lot of nice ashi-waza that were well timed, some really good judo. Today I was able to really get into the judo and enjoy it.”
Tomorrow it is the turn of the heavyweights and we look forward to you joining us on the livestream via live.IJF.org.