The Junior World Championships produced a barnstorming third day as Japan won two gold medals while Belgium and Germany won gold for the first time at the Dom Sportova in Zagreb.
The junior women's -63kg and -70kg categories were in action alongside the men's -81kg and -90kg categories as the best young judoka in the world battled their emotions and each other on the biggest stage of their careers.
Dominican Republic win historic men's world medal
Junior Pan American Championships winner Robert FLORENTINO (DOM) became the first male World Judo Championships medallist for the Dominican Republic.
The 20-year-old is based in Valencia, Spain, in order to compete regularly throughout Europe and to develop his judo as he prepares to join the senior circuit next year.
FLORENTINO defeated Georgian, Croatian, Uzbek and French opponents and scored four waza-ari and ippon during that riveting run which added his country to the list of medal winners.
The youngster lost out to TAJIMA Goki (JPN) in the final but was still ecstatic to see his flag raised to the rafters and to achieve a first for his country after a superb display.
"I started judo when I was seven years old after trying out boxing and baseball," said FLORENTINO.
FLORENTINO lost out to Hungary's TOTH Krisztian at the senior Worlds in August
"I enjoyed the physicality of judo when I started in my local club and it quickly became my passion. When I was 15 I started to travel with judo to compete abroad and from the first moment I loved representing the Dominican Republic.
"At the age of 17 I felt that judo would become my full-time career, this was when I really felt that I could capture medals at top events for my country."
FLORENTINO is one of a host of Spanish-speaking judoka from the Americas who have flourished by honing their craft at Valencia Judo Club, home to long-time Spanish internationals Sugoi URIARTE and Laura GOMEZ (ESP) who were both present in Zagreb.
"I have to thank my teammates here, everyone at home and everyone in Valencia who have helped me to this medal today. I am happy to be part of the club in Valencia and I feel at home there. I now look forward to competing at senior events next year and I really want to be at the 2018 World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.
"My dream is to win the Olympic Games. I am committed to this and will do everything I can to be there in Japan at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games."
$700,000 BONUS TO BE SHARED BY THE 14 FINAL 2017 WRL LEADERS
As the Junior World Championships is in full swing in Zagreb, Croatia, and the best juniors athletes representing the future of judo are competing for the IJF honours, the IJF President, Mr. Marius Vizer, announced today that for the second year in a row the world number one senior judoka in each weight category (male and female) will be awarded with $50,000 prize money.
There are still a handful of events before the end of 2017 as Abu Dhabi Grand Slam is about to take place in the upcoming week and will be followed by the The Hague Grand Prix in the Netherlands, the Tokyo Grand Slam in Japan and the World Judo Masters in St. Petersburg, Russia.
In November the International Judo Federation will also organise the Open World Championships in Marrakech, Morocco. While this event is not part of the IJF World Judo Tour that offers points for the World Ranking List it does boast a record amount of prize money of 500,000 which will be divided across the men's and women's openweight medallists.
-63kg: ARAKI adds to Japanese gold medal haul
All Japan Junior Championships winner ARAKI Honoka (JPN) was crowned the Junior world champion on Friday after remaining undefeated in the -63kg category. ARAKI extended Japan's gold medal haul towards double figures by beating Junior European Championships winner Sanne VERMEER (NED) by a waza-ari score.
In the first semi-final Junior European Cup winner Clemence EME (FRA) fell to 19-year-old ARAKI Honoka (JPN) who opened the scoring with a harai-makikomi for a waza-ari and made her French opponent submit under extreme pressure from osaekomi-waza. In the second semi-final VERMEER (NED) defeated two-time Grand Prix bronze medallist Lubjana PIOVESANA (GBR). The Dutch judoka forced her exhausted British opponent to tap out from a hold down to advance into the gold medal contest.
The first bronze medal was won by PIOVESANA who defeated Belgrade European Open bronze medallist Jovana OBRADOVIC (SRB) to open her country's medal account in Zagreb. PIOVESANA finished fifth at the last Junior Worlds but won her bronze medal contest this time in golden score when OBRADOVIC received her third shido for passivity.
The second bronze medal was won by EME who edged past teammate and French Junior Championships bronze medallist Yasmine HORLAVILLE (FRA) in golden score by a waza-ari score.
ARAKI, Honoka (JPN) vs VERMEER, Sanne (NED)
Bronze Medal Fights
OBRADOVIC, Jovana (SRB) vs PIOVESANA, Lubjana (GBR)
EME, Clemence (FRA) vs HORLAVILLE, Yasmine (FRA)
1. ARAKI, Honoka (JPN)
2. VERMEER, Sanne (NED)
3. PIOVESANA, Lubjana (GBR)
3. EME, Clemence (FRA)
5. OBRADOVIC, Jovana (SRB)
5. HORLAVILLE, Yasmine (FRA)
7. GORISSEN, Jessica (NED)
7. OBRADOVIC, Anja (SRB)
-70kg: SCOCCIMARRO stars for Germany who hit the medal trail on day three
European Championships silver medallist Giovanna SCOCCIMARRO (GER) won world gold for Germany by beating world number 17 Aleksandra SAMARDZIC (BIH) in the -70kg final. A waza-ari score was the difference after four minutes of judo as SCOCCIMARRO outworked SAMARDZIC for a victory which ended Germany's wait for a medal in Zagreb in scintillating fashion.
In the first semi-final SCOCCIMARRO bested Prague European Open bronze medallist Gabriella WILLEMS (BEL) by a waza-ari score which was the only time the scoreboard was called into action. In the second semi-final SAMARDZIC saw off 19-year-old Junior Pan American Championships winner Ellen SANTANA (BRA) by a waza-ari.
The first bronze medal was claimed by Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games bronze medallist Michaela POLLERES (AUT) who proved too strong for 1st Kyu brown belt SANTANA. POLLERES built a commanding lead of two waza-ari scores before pinning her Brazilian opponent in osaekomi for bronze.
The second bronze medal was won by WILLEMS who pounced after a failed attack from former Junior World silver medallist AOYAGI Remi (JPN) to apply the juji-gatme for ippon. The Belgian youngster put her head in her hands in shock as she sealed world honours and against teak-tough opposition.
SCOCCIMARRO, Giovanna (GER) vs SAMARDZIC, Aleksandra (BIH)
Bronze Medal Fights
POLLERES, Michaela (AUT) vs SANTANA, Ellen (BRA)
WILLEMS, Gabriella (BEL) vs AOYAGI, Remi (JPN)
1. SCOCCIMARRO, Giovanna (GER)
2. SAMARDZIC, Aleksandra (BIH)
3. POLLERES, Michaela (AUT)
3. WILLEMS, Gabriella (BEL)
5. SANTANA, Ellen (BRA)
5. AOYAGI, Remi (JPN)
7. JAGER, Hilde (NED)
7. KUKA, Loriana (KOS)
-81kg: Belgian CASSE grinds out world title win
Katowice European Open winner Matthias CASSE (BEL) topped the medal podium in the -81kg category for Belgium as their presence in the competition continues to increase every day. CASSE prevailed against former Junior European Championships bronze medallist Turpal TEPKAEV (RUS) in golden score with a reverse seoi-nage which was worth a waza-ari and world gold.
In the first semi-final 19-year-old Junior European Championships bronze medallist Christian PARLATI (ITA) lost out to CASSE by a waza-ari score to guarantee one more medal for Belgium. In the second semi-final Junior European Championships winner Tim GRAMKOW (GER) was beaten by TEPKAEV by ippon.
The first bronze medal was clinched by GRAMKOW after Junior Asian Championships bronze medallist Erlan SHEROV (KGZ) picked up his third shido for dropping to receive hansoku-make.
The second bronze medal was won by PARLATI who eclipsed Scottish judoka and former Glasgow European Open bronze medallist Stuart MCWATT (GBR) by a waza-ari in the last 30 seconds.
TEPKAEV, Turpal (RUS) vs CASSE, Matthias (BEL)
Bronze Medal Fights
GRAMKOW, Tim (GER) vs SHEROV, Erlan (KGZ)
PARLATI, Christian (ITA) vs MCWATT, Stuart (GBR)
1. CASSE, Matthias (BEL)
2. TEPKAEV, Turpal (RUS)
3. GRAMKOW, Tim (GER)
3. PARLATI, Christian (ITA)
5. SHEROV, Erlan (KGZ)
5. MCWATT, Stuart (GBR)
7. CHERKAI, Aleksandr (UKR)
7. D ARCO, Salvatore (ITA)
-90kg: TAJIMA topples Caribbean opposition for Japan's sixth Junior world title
All Japan Junior Championships bronze medallist TAJIMA Goki (JPN) was one of the most prolific scorers of the day as he accumulated five ippons in as many fights and three waza-ari scores. TAJIMA threw 20-year-old Junior Pan American Championships winner Robert FLORENTINO (DOM) for a waza-ari score before sealing his first world gold medal by ippon for an emphatic victory.
In the first semi-final TAJIMA defeated Junior European Championships bronze medallist Jamal PETGRAVE (GBR) by ippon having originally been in front by a waza-ari score. In the second semi-final FLORENTINO shocked 20-year-old Junior European Championships winner Aurelien DIESSE (FRA) by a waza-ari score.
The first bronze medal was won by national senior champion Eduard TRIPPEL (GER) who triumphed against DIESSE by ippon.
The second bronze medal was claimed by Junior Asian Championships winner NAGAI Koshi (JPN) who scored three waza-ari without reply against PETGRAVE of Great Britain.
TAJIMA, Goki (JPN) vs FLORENTINO, Robert (DOM)
Bronze Medal Fights
TRIPPEL, Eduard (GER) vs DIESSE, Aurelien (FRA)
PETGRAVE, Jamal (GBR) vs NAGAI, Koshi (JPN)
1. TAJIMA, Goki (JPN)
2. FLORENTINO, Robert (DOM)
3. TRIPPEL, Eduard (GER)
3. NAGAI, Koshi (JPN)
5. DIESSE, Aurelien (FRA)
5. PETGRAVE, Jamal (GBR)
7. SHEPEL, Vitalii (UKR)
7. JANDREEV, Shermukhammad (UZB)
Saturday 21 October
10:00 Preliminaries on three mats
17:00 Final block on two mats
Junior Women: -78kg, +78kg
Junior Men: -100kg, +100kg
Sunday 22 October - Mixed Team Competition
11:00 Preliminaries on three mats
17:00 Final block on two mats
Location: Dom Sportova