Day 1 of the Cadet World Championships is over and we have four new world champions to celebrate with. They are learning how to achieve great things and their performances today point to the potential to succeed at the highest level, the ability to cope with pressure and the physical attributes needed to sustain an athlete lifestyle. It’s not easy but they are on their way.
At -40 kg the world number 1, Tomankova (SVK) has been at the top of her category for two years and was pegged to be the runaway champion but it wasn’t so easy! Her semi-final against Aiora Martin Carriches (ESP) became a high energy marathon and it wasn’t until the 4th minute of golden score that the Slovakian could swing into position successfully to finish a tomoe-nage for waza-ari.
The first bronze medal of the tournament, fought between Dilara Kandymova (TKM) and Mathilde Aurel (FRA), was a seoi-nage battle but with Kandymova leading by number of attacks, ability to transition to ne-waza and the positivity of her gripping, she persevered and finally scored waza-ari just as the golden score period began. A bronze medal for Turkmenistan has been on the cards for some time as for the last couple of years their teams have been ever-more-present on the circuit at all ages. There is certainly more to come from them.
The second bronze was won by Nina Auer (AUT), the number two seed who was beaten by Aurel in the quarter-final. She dominated in the repechage final and then gave Martin Carriches a ne-waza scare with a shime-waza attempt which nearly won in the first 30 seconds of the medal contest. The Spanish judoka came back well with an ashi-waza kinsa before everything evened out and both became more careful. At full time there were two penalties apiece. The third came for Martin Carriches at 90 seconds into extra time.
Tomankova and Yuldashbekova (KAZ) fought the final for only a minute and a half. Tomankova’s ranking and results suggested she would be world champion today but getting the job done is quite another thing. She was predicted the winner last year in Sarajevo and head to settle for bronze. This year she left no space at all for doubt and finally had the gold. Tomankova is the first IJF world gold medallist ever for Slovakia, from cadet, junior or senior championships!
At -50 kg, the unrelated Mamishov and Mamishov became the 1 and 2. For Mahammad Mamishov it was expected as he was the number one, sitting at the top of the sheet at the beginning of the day but Nihad Mamishov was a big surprise to all, sweeping through the bottom half of the draw, including putting the number 2 seed, Bence Galo (HUN) out of the tournament.
European cadet champion Mahammed Mamishov may not have expected his teammate in front of him in his medal fight, but there he was and there would be no opposition to present more of a threat, as they know each other so well. In fact, 8 seconds into golden score, it was Nohad who countered beautifully for waza-ari. Mahammed Mamishov is European Cadet champion but Nihad Mamishov is on top of the world!
The first bronze medal was contested by Francesco Crociani (ITA) and Nurbol Askar (KAZ) and was decided in golden score when the Italian countered a missed attack, rolling the Kazakh on to his side for waza-ari.
The second bronze at -50 kg went to Georgia. Choijiljav (MGL) did everything he could throughout the contest but a small mistake and a little counter from Bachoshvili were enough to secure the result, perhaps against the run of play.
In the -44 kg category, none of the top four made it to the final. Beorlegui Oses (ESP) was dropped into the repechage by unseeded Ribeiro (BRA), where she then lost again, against Haydarova, one of the new generation of Uzbek athletes coming through the country’s new system. The Spanish world number 1 took gold at the Coimbra European Cup, the cadet Europeans and EYOF all in the last 3 months, but the world medal escaped her today.
Number 2 on the sheet, Dogruyol (TUR) reached the semi-final but was placed in the bronze medal contest by Togtbaatar (MGL). Cadet Pan-American champion from both this year and last, Manuela Crespo (COL) also fell to the unknown Mongolian, an athlete without a previous record, a real giant-slayer in Zagreb.
Number 4 seed, Huidrom (IND) won golds in Hong Kong and Macau this year and in Croatia she managed the beginning of her day excellently, handling challenges from Huang (TPE) and Haydarova perfectly but in the semi-final she fell foul of the Brazilian and had to face her last contest of the day without the guarantee of a medal.
Having had a great day already, Haydarova capped it by winning a bronze medal, driving into her Turkish opponent following a failed attack, powerfully enough to secure the osaekomi.
The second bronze went to India, a second ever world medal for India after Linthoi Chanambam won gold at -57 kg in Sarajevo last year. Oliviya Devi Huidrom took less than two minutes to hold her opponent for the required 20 seconds, sending her to the podium.
Ribeiro and Togtbaatar were not the predicted finalists, the Brazilian arriving from 23rd place on the ranking list and the Mongolian having no ranking at all. Clarice Ribeiro had clearly decided early in the day that she would take her chance to be world champion and in the final she fought exactly as she had all day, delivering solid, confident judo. She took the gold and stood on top of the podium with a deserving smile.
In the -55 kg category only the third of the top four in the rankings made it to the final. Nurlan Isataev (KAZ) won golds in Kazakhstan and Georgia earlier this year, really showing his class. He arrived in Zagreb ready to grapple and grapple he did. It was full contact Judo throughout the day.
Isataev’s teammate, Baizak didn’t have a bad day either, beginning as the 7th seed and eventually taking out the category number two, Mivovan (FRA) in the quarter-final. The Frenchman was not happy and struggled to refind his form for the later contests of the day, winning the repechage final only after an uncertain golden score period with Yang (USA).
Mivovan went a waza-ari down against Iskandarov (AZE) early in the bronze medal contest. Neither athlete expected to be in that fight, the Azeri particularly, arriving as the world number one, gold medals in his kit bag from the Zagreb European Cup, Goygol and the Europeans this year. The Frenchman didn’t make it easy for him to hold his lead either and equalised with a minute to go. The determination of both judoka was quite something and they showed the kind of will and persistence that will be needed as they climb the age categories. However, only one could take the medal and it was Iskandarov with a second score being awarded for a perfectly timed ko-soto-gake.
Isataev spent the final hunting techniques at close quarters but the Georgian, Samadashvili, who had beaten the world number one in the semi-final stage, was also pretty handy with the pick-ups. Isataev held his nerve and continued to create chances. His strategy paid off and he became world cadet champion, throwing for waza-ari in the golden score period.
The first day closed with Kazakhstan leading the medal table, but only just. A gold, a silver and a bronze each for Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, a 5th and two 7th places making the difference. Slovakia sit in 3rd place, incredibly, with their first world champion and an additional 5th place.
Tomorrow will showcase the best cadets in the world at -48 kg, -52 kg, -60 kg and -66 kg. Tune in to JudoTV to keep up with all the action in Zagreb.