Day 4 of the Odivelas World Championships Juniors has delivered the heavyweights admirably, many countries contending the medals. IJF TV Director Jack Willingham has been present throughout but has really enjoyed the technical variety among the last 4 categories of the event and so offers his technical analysis of the day.
Brenda Olaya (COL) won -78 kg bronze in Portugal with this uchi-mata being one of many strong techniques shown.

“Throw of the day, for me, came in the -100 kg men’s category in the shape of Arai (JPN). In his semi-final against Abdurakhmonov, he used a phenomenally fast ko-soto to osoto combination which appeared effortless. It was a stylish use of techniques that are traditional, applied with such outstanding use of reaction and momentum. The hop with the support leg caused acceleration and the power involved made it impossible for the Tajik judoka to escape; he had immense control.

Moving to the category above, the +100 kg Cypriot, Antoniou, was on very good form, moving so well against bigger opponents. He really used his smaller stature to his advantage. I actually underestimated him in every contest but he kept surprising me. He has learned how to play the heavyweight game regardless of his opponent’s size or technical preference. Reaching the final block is a huge achievement and one he really deserved today.

In the same category Gureshidze (GEO) and current cadet world champion Tataroglu (TUR) presented us with an exciting heavyweight final, both arriving with a fearless brand of power. Both threw confidently throughout the day to arrive on the podium.

Ibrahim Tataroglu winning the +100 kg semi-final.

At +78 kg Mao Arai (JPN) has employed methodical and robust ne-waza specifically against her opponents from Azerbaijan and Israel, to devastating effect. When things haven’t worked for her immediately she’s been systematic and also ruthless but without any panic or loss of respect. She’s powerful and strong and clearly has a work ethic in her daily training routine which brings her to Portugal in outstanding shape. She could be someone to watch for the future.”

Mao Arai winning on the ground.

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