Armen Bagdasarov is a hero in Uzbekistan, their first Olympic medallist. Now he is Head Referee Director for the IJF and is an integral part of the world championship machine in Abu Dhabi. On day 2 the technical analysis is his.

“The Huh-Deguchi final is not the one the judo world expected to see in Abu Dhabi. The 2 Canadian athletes are usually so dominant in the -57 kg category but a slip-up for Klimkait opened the door for a new world champion. At only 21 years old, Mimi Huh, her coach and Korea can be proud of the work they have done. She beat the world number one and number two to earn that title and that says enough about the validity of her achievement. Her conditioning was perfect, impregnable; she was able to match any challenge from any opponent. It is a good lesson for all about the fitness required to compete at the top level.

Deguchi (CAN) vs Huh (KOR).

Deguchi showed beautiful judo today. The first osoto-gari which she planted solidly against Libeer was out of this world. It was simple, clean and powerful, exactly as an osoto-gari should be. In her semi-final she faced Tamaoki and that was a closer contest but Deguchi found an extra tier of toughness and it was clear that she ‘chose’ to win that fight. Tamaoki is a world class opponent but there was simply too much at stake for Christa Deguchi to allow a different outcome.

In this big Canadian battle, Klimkait showed strong physical preparation but perhaps not the same level of judo, or at least adaptability under pressure, as she needed. She always attacks well and often but a lack of variation has become the only chink in her armour. The Korean threw her well in the semi-final with seoi-otoshi, a battle of the seoi-otoshi masters in which Huh was superior today. The spectators lost the opportunity to see the big final showdown between Deguchi and Klimkait but to have a new world champion is wonderful and certainly offers some new ideas and predictions ahead of the Games.

The new world champion Mimi Huh (KOR) and her Olympic champion coach, Mi-Jung Kim.

Thinking more broadly, we must look at the two Japanese athletes extending the legacy left behind by Maruyama and Abe. Tanaka and Takeoka did a phnomenal job to get to the final together and then to offer such a display of technical proficiency. Takeoka ended the day with a silver medal but his use of the outside hook, for ko-soto-gake against Olympic silver medallist Margvelashvili (GEO) in the quarter-final and then copying it against Emomali (TJK) in the semi-final, was incredible to see. It is not a technique we often see applied in such a direct and devastating way but he has made this his tokui-waza and it has proved to be an effective one.

Takeoka (JPN) throwing Emomali (TJK).

Tanaka’s quarter-final was supposed to be against Baul An (KOR) but he withdrew due to injury. Some strong contests were missed due to his absence and what was clear was that despite this being a world championship and there being important medals at stake, the rest of the judoka in the category were clearly disappointed not to have the opportunity to express themselves fully against all those present. This is a display of another kind of respect an fair play and that is what sets us apart from all other sports.”

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