Saturday, August 31, 2013

Day 6: 2013 Rio World Championships +78kg

Women’s +78kg
Although home favourite Maria Suelen Altheman of Brazil was the top seed in the women’s +78kg division, the top favourite was Cuba’s Idalys Ortiz, the 2012 London Games champion. None of the other +78kg medallists from London was in Rio: Japan’s Mika Sugimoto, China’s Wen Tong and Great Britain’s Karina Bryant were all missing.

Pool A: Maria Suelen Altheman (BRA)
Altheman outpowered her first opponent, Kazakhstan’s Gulzhan Issanova, causing her to get hansoku-make from four shidos. She changed tack for her second match and threw her South Korean opponent, Kim Eun-Kyeong, with an osoto-makikomi that scored yuko and followed that up with a pin for ippon. She was through to the semi-finals.

Pool B: Emilie Andeol (FRA)
The favourite in this pool was Turkey’s 5th-ranked Belkis Zehra Kaya but there was also France’s 6th-ranked Emilie Andeol who was a serious contender for the top spot in this pool. Andeol threw Argentina’s Samantha Da Cunha in the opening seconds of their match with an impressive standing sode-tsuri-komi-goshi that scored waza-ari. This was quickly followed up with a pin for waza-ari-awasatte-ippon.

France's Andeol scores with an impressive standing sode-tsuri-komi-goshi.

That brought her up against Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Larisa Ceric (ranked 54th) who had unexpectedly beaten Kaya to get to the quarter-final. But she was no match against the very powerful Andeol and ended up with hansoku-make after accumulating four shidos.

Pool C: Idalys Ortiz (CUB)
Olympic champion and top favourite, Ortiz, had no problems with her first opponent, Ecuador’s Marlin Viveros, whom she threw with a perfect standing sode-tsuri-komi-goshi for ippon within the first few seconds of their match.

Cuba's Ortiz scores ippon with a perfectly executed standing sode-tsuri-komi-goshi.

She had more difficulty with her next opponent, Germany’s Jasmin Kuelbs, and had to rely on a penalty win. Nevertheless, she was through to the semi-finals.

Pool D: Megumi Tachimoto (JPN)
Japan’s 3rd-ranked Megumi Tachimoto impressively won both her matches in Pool D with an ippon. She threw her Chinese opponent Jie Kang with an ouchi-gari and then proceeded to pin her for the first ippon. And for her second one, she used harai-goshi against South Korea’s Lee Jung Eun. This earned her a ticket to the semi-finals.

A nice harai-goshi at the edge of the mat by Japan's Tachimoto.

The fierce battle between Altheman and Andeol did not produce any scores but the crowd didn’t care as the home favourite was ahead, with one shido against two, when the bell rang. The audience roared its approval.

Although both Ortiz and Tachimoto were both big throwers, their bout also produced no scores and in the end, it was the Cuban who was ahead, with one shido against two. It would be a Cuban-Brazilian final.

As if to make up for the lack of throws in her semi-final bout, in the opening seconds of her bronze medal match, Tachimoto unleashed a devastating harai-goshi which sent her opponent, Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Larisa Ceric, whirling through the air for a massive ippon.

Japan's Tachimoto uses her favorite harai-goshi to win the bronze.

In the other bronze medal match, Lee opened up the accounts by throwing Andeol with a drop ippon-seoi-nage that scored yuko. When Andeol attempted her own drop ippon-seoi-nage, Lee managed to block it and proceeded to strangle the French player into submission.

South Korea's Lee snaps on a strangle after her opponent attempts a drop seoi-nage.

With both bronze medal matches decided by ippon, anything less than that for the final of the women’s heavyweight division would have been a disappointment. As it turned out, the final was indeed decided by an ippon although not for the player the home crowd was rooting for. Ortiz showed her class by executing a well-time tsubame-gaeshi against Altheman’s attempt at a footsweep. This produced a waza-ari but Ortiz proceeded to pin her opponent for waza-ari-awasatte ippon.

Cuba's Ortiz throws with a superbly timed tsubame-gaeshi and proceeds to pin her opponent for ippon.

Final Results
1. ORTIZ, Idalys (CUB)    
2. ALTHEMAN, Maria Suelen (BRA)   
3. TACHIMOTO, Megumi (JPN)  
3. LEE, Jung Eun (KOR)
5. CERIC, Larisa (BIH)  
5. ANDEOL, Emilie (FRA)

Day 6: 2013 Rio World Championships +100kg

Men’s +100kg
In the Men’s +100kg category there’s only one obvious favourite and that’s France’s five-time World Champion Teddy Riner. There were other big men in the category – Brazil’s Rafael Silva, Germany’s Andreas Toelzer, Georgia’s Adam Okruashvili and not forgetting three-time World Champion Alexander Mikhaylin – however none of them was a serious threat to Riner.

Pool A: Rafael Silva (BRA)
Home favourite and No 1-ranked Silva thrilled the crowd in his opening match by throwing his opponent, Kyrgyzstan’s Iurii Kravkovetskii with an uchimata for ippon. He then smashed Japan’s Ryu Schichinohe with an osoto-makikomi for ippon to top his pool.

Brazil's Silva wins his prelim matches with ippon!

Pool B: Andreas Toelzer (GER)

Toelzer was the man who fought Riner in final of the last World Championships in Paris and has been known to train specifically to overcome Riner’s fighting style. He threw his first opponent, Cameroon’s Joseph Bebeze, with an uchimata for waza-ari within the first minute and then pinned  him for waza-ari-awasatte-ippon. Toelzer’s next opponent was Tunisia’s Faicel Jaballah, who tried to throw the German with a sumi-gaeshi but ended up getting pinned for ippon instead.

Pool C: Teddy Riner (FRA)
Despite his ability to execute big throws, Riner has never been a showy player. He does not play to the crowd and his sole objective is to win, by penalties if necessary. As such, he does not come out blazing with attempts at crowd-pleasing throws. Instead, he bides his time, looking for the right opportunity to attack. It took him one and a half minutes to find the right moment to throw his first opponent, Aliaksandr Vakhaviak of Belarus, with an osoto-gari for ippon. It took him longer, past the midway mark, before throwing Cuba’s Oscar Brayson, also with osoto-gari for ippon.

France's Riner scores ippon, both times with osoto-gari.

Pool D: Adam Okruashvili (GEO)
On paper, there were two serious contenders here, Georgia’s 3rd-ranked Okruashvili and Russia’s 2012 London Games silver medallist, Mikhaylin. However, the Russian’s performance on that day showed that he was well past his prime. In Okruashvili’s first match, against Poland’s Maciej Sarnacki, he was thrown with a sasae-tsuri-komi-ashi for waza-ari. But Okruashvili struck back in style by throwing Sarnacki with an ura-nage that had the Polish player flying through the air. That brought him up against a sluggish Mikhaylin, who spent most of his time defending. He was eventually given a hansoku-make after accumulating four shidos.

Georgia's Okruashvili gets thrown with sasae but wins with a massive ura-nage for ippon.


The first semi-final match, between Silva and Toelzer, was mainly a tactical battle for grips. The only thing that excited the crowd was the fact that Silva might make it to the final. In the end, he did win through penalties.

After the actionless Silva-Toelzer match, the crowd was eager to see a big throw and Riner certainly delivered, launching Okruashvili into the air with a massive uchimata that could have easily been ippon. It was given a waza-ari but it didn’t matter as Riner quickly clamped on a hold-down that Okruashvili didn’t even try to wriggle out of.

Riner thrills the crowd with a big uchimata followed by a pin.

The final was what the home crowd was hoping for, a match-up between home favourite Silva and the top favourite Riner. The Frenchman dominated Silva with his favourite high, right-hand collar grip and tight, left-hand sleeve grip from the start and eventually threw him with an osoto-gari for waza-ari followed up by a pin for waza-ari-awasatte-ippon.

Riner smashes Silva with an osoto-gari and then pins him to win the gold.

Final Results
1. RINER, Teddy (FRA)    
2. SILVA, Rafael (BRA)    
3. JABALLAH, Faicel (TUN) 
3. TOELZER, Andreas (GER)  
5. MIKHAYLIN, Alexander (RUS)


Day 6: 2013 Rio World Championships -100kg

Men’s -100kg
The men’s -100kg division saw a mix of old and new faces. Double world silver medallist Henk Grol from the Netherlands was there still trying for his first world title. And so were two big throwers who had moved up from the -90kg division: Azerbaijan’s Elkhan Mammadov and Japan’s Takashi Ono. However, one notable player missing from the line-up was Russia’s Tagir Khaibulaev.

Pool A: Elkhan Mammadov (AZE)

Mammadov, who had fought in the 2012 London Games at -90kg has been competing in his new -100kg category throughout most of 2013 and had managed to accumulate enough points to become the No. 1 ranked player in his division. Ono, in contrast, had not done the same and was ranked 50th. They were in the same pool and were bound to meet.

Mammadov had a tough first fight against Israel’s Or Sasson, conceding two yukos from seoi-nage and kouchi-gake before scoring a waza-ari in the last minute with a tremendous cross-grip sode-tsuri-komi-goshi.

Perhaps stunned by his near defeat in the first round, Mammadov scored early in his next match against Spain’s David Alarza, throwing him with a yoko-sutemi for waza-ari in the opening seconds. It was enough to win him the match.

That brought him up against Ono, who had shown some difficulty adjusting to his new weight class. Although he won his first match by ippon, Ono’s other two fights went to time. Mammadov and Ono had fought several times before, mainly in the -90kg category although they fought each other in the 2013 Dusseldorf Grand Prix in the -100kg category. On that occasion, Ono won. However, in Rio, it was Mammadov who prevailed. After scoring a waza-ari with a very low tsuri-goshi, Mammadov decided to ride the time out. By the end of the match, he had accumulated three shidos but under the new rules, his waza-ari score meant that he was the winner.

Azerbaijan's Mammadov throws with cross sode, yoko-sutemi & tsuri-goshi.

Pool B: Soyib Kurbanov (UZB)

The favourite in this pool was Iran’s 4th-ranked Javad Mahjoub, but it was the little-known Soyib Kurbanov (ranked 57th) from Uzbekistan who would top the pool.

Kurbanov’s first bout was against Algeria’s Lyes Bouyakoub who scored first with a sumi-gaeshi for waza-ari. But Kurbanov struck back with an osoto-makikomi that scored ippon. The brought him up against Mahjoub whom Kurbanov stunned twice with counters, the first landing Mahjoub on his side for yuko and the second, on his back for ippon.

After that he had to fight Latvia’s Jevgenijs Borodavko, whom he threw with osoto-makikomi followed by a pin for ippon. This brought him up against France’s Cyrille Maret who wasn’t able to stand up to Kurbanov’s unusual gripping style. He threw the French player twice with harai-makikomi (for waza-ari and yuko) before countering him with an outside kosoto-gake for ippon.

Kurbanov had a tough ride to the semi-finals but he prevailed.

Pool C: Henk Grol (NED)
The favourite in this pool, the Netherlands’ 2nd-ranked Henk Grol, sailed through to the semi-finals as expected. He won his first match through hansoku-make after his South Korean opponent Shim Ji-Ho got four shidos. He won his second match by countering Tunisia’s Anis Ben Khaled’s uchimata with a ride-and-roll technique that scored ippon. 


Grol of The Netherlands scores ippon with Ride & Roll counter.

If there was anyone who could stop Grol it would have been Germany’s Dmitri Peters, whose imposing physique made him looked suited to be in the next weight category. Grol had to rely on penalties to win this one, but he was through to the semi-finals.

Pool D: Lukas Krpalek (CZE)

This pool featured the up-and-coming Lukas Krpalek (ranked 3rd) from the Czech Republic. He probably had the hardest first fight among the top seeds as he had to face World Champion Maxim Rakov, who had slipped to 12th place in the rankings but who was still a force to be reckoned with. Krpalek, who is very strong on the ground, attacked Rakov with newaza the moment he had the opportunity to do so. Rakov tried to stand up to get a matte call but as did so, Krpalek straightened his arm, forcing him to tap.

Kazakhstan's Rakov was too casual in his defence and ended up getting armlocked.

Krpalek also used newaza to win his next match, against Portugal Jorge Fonseca, but instead of an armlock he rolled him into a pin for ippon. His next opponent, the very tough Ramziddin Sayidov of Uzbekistan, took him to time but lost out as he had two shidos on the board compared to Krpalek’s one.

Mammadov came out blazing in his semi-final match, throwing Kurbanov with a side takedown that scored yuko. Then as Kurbanov attacked with an ouchi-gari, Mammadov countered with a hiza-guruma for waza-ari.

Azerbaijan's Mammadov throws first with yoko-sutemi, then with hiza-guruma.

In the other semi-final match, between Grol and Krpalek, it was the Czech player who was more aggressive. With one minute left, Grol had two shidos compared to Krpalek’s one. Perhaps to avoid getting another shido, Krpalek attacked with a weak uchimata which Grol managed to counter for ippon. A devastated Krpalek couldn’t believe what had just


Experience counts. Grol scores ippon in the last minute with an uchimata counter.

In the first bronze medal match, Krpalek again was the aggressor and forced his opponent, Ono to get two shidos. With just 10 seconds to go, Krpalek received a shido. Ono then came in with desperate uchimata which Krpalek countered for yuko, literally seconds before the bell rang.

The second bronze medal match was a really exciting one. Peters came out attacking Kurbanov with a lapel grip seoi-nage and kept attacking with this technique throughout the match. Kurbanov adopted a defensive strategy, blocking the attacks and even managed to counter it once, for a yuko score. Peters kept attacking and Kurbanov kept defending, earning a couple of shidos in the process. With 10 seconds left in the match it looked like Kurbanov’s strategy would pay off but the relentless Peters came in with one more seoi-nage attack. This time it worked and a waza-ari was scored.

Persistence pays off for Germany's Peters whose seoi-nage finally scores in the end.

In the gold medal match between Mammadov and Grol, it was the Dutch player who was more aggressive in the first half of the match. Then with about two minutes to go, Mammadov attacked with his trademark cross-grip sode-tsuri-komi-goshi which only managed to knock Grol down to his front but Mammadov kept the momentum going and managed to roll Grol onto his back. This was too soft a roll to be given an ippon so it awarded a waza-ari. This was a score too big for Grol to get back. He had just earned his third world silver medal while Mammadov got his first gold.

Azerbaijan's Mammadov wins gold with his favorite cross-grip sode-tsuri-komi-goshi.

Final Results
1. MAMMADOV, Elkhan (AZE)   
2. GROL, Henk (NED)  
3. KRPALEK, Lukas (CZE) 
3. PETERS, Dimitri (GER)
5. ONO, Takashi (JPN)   
5. KURBANOV, Soyib (UZB)   

Friday, August 30, 2013

Day 5: 2013 Rio World Championships -90kg

-90kg Men
At world level competitions it’s very rare that things go according to expectations. You have top seeded players spread across four pools but there is almost always an upset and sometimes even top seeds get knocked out in the first round. But in the Men’s -90kg division, all the favourites topped their pools.

Pool A: Varlam Liparteliani (GEO)

Although he has yet to win a world or Olympic title, Georgia’s Varlam Liparteliani is one of the most feared fighters in his category. He got through his pool rather easily, defeating France’s Ludovic Gobert with uchimata for waza-ari, Germany’s Marc Odenthal with harai-goshi for ippon, and Sweden’s Joakim Dvarby through hansoku-make (the Swede was overly defensive).

Georgia's Liparteliani throws Gobert with uchimata and then Odenthal with harai-goshi.

Pool B: Kirill Denisov (RUS)

Russia’s reigning European Champion Kirill Denisov also did not have much difficulty getting through his pool, defeating all his opponents by ippon. First, he obtained a submission from USA’s Colton Brown through a standing armlock – something that rarely happens in top competition. Then he threw for ippon, Switerland’s Ciril Grossklaus with a superbly-timed kouchi-gari, just as Grossklaus was attempting a footsweep. In his third match, against old rival Lee Kyu-Won of South Korea (who had defeated him in the final of the 2009 Rotterdam World Championships), Denisov proved that his earlier ashi-waza was no fluke by throwing Lee with a double-stab ashi-waza for ippon. First he attacked with kosoto-gari and when Lee retreated, he swept him for ippon. He also used ashi-waza in his fight against Portugal’s Celio Dias whom he threw with a kosoto-gari counter for ippon.

Russia's Denisov defeats his opponents handily.

Pool C: Asley Gonzalez (CUB)

The Cuban men’s team tends to stand in the shadows of their much stronger women’s team. However, among its members is Asley Gonzalez whose drop morote-seoi-nage is arguably the best in the world today. He used it to devastating effect against his opponents. In his first match, he sent Serbia’s Aleksandar Kukolj flying through the air with it. For his second match, against South Korea’s Gwak Dong Han, he had to use a combination attack. As the South Korean stepped off his drop morote-seoi-nage, Gonzalez swept his far back foot with kosoto-gari that had the Gwak landing flat on back. His third opponent, Hungary’s Krisztian Toth, was wary of the morote-seoi-nage but got caught when Gonzalez came in with a seoi-otoshi that scored waza-ari.

Cuba's Gonzalez has a devastating morote-seoi-nage.

Pool D: Ilias Iliadis (GRE)
If there was a crowd favourite, it would have to be Greece’s Olympic and double World Champion Ilias Iliadis, a big thrower with plenty of personal charm. He began his campaign scoring ippon by side-stepping Slovakia’s Milan Randl’s kosoto-gari and landing on top of him. In his second fight, he threw Dutch World Champion Guillaume Elmont with a tsuri-komi-goshi for waza-ari. His third match was won by hansoku-make when his opponent, Kyrgyzstan’s Chingiz Mamedov stopped a hip throw attack with his left hand. Everyone was still waiting for Iliadis to execute a big throw and he didn’t disappoint in his fourth match, against Lithuania’s Karolis Bauza, whom he launched with a massive uchimata that had the crowd roaring. 

Iliadis of Greece proved himself to be a mean throwing machine.

He was through to what would probably be the most exciting semi-finals in the championships, with all top seeds fighting.

Although the first semi-final fight, between Liparteliani and Denisov, did not produce any scores, it was an exciting match nonetheless with both men taking their grips and attempting to throw the other. They each other well, having fought many times before. Denisov had won in five of their seven previous encounters but in Rio, it was Liparteliani who would emerge victor though it was through a penalty win.

The other semi-final match also did not produce any score after five minutes of play. Iliadis was the experience fighter with many major titles in his belt. Gonzalez was the hungry newcomer, yet to get his first world-level title. In the Golden Score portion of their fight, it was the Cuban who emerged victor, dispensing with his usual morote-seoi-nage and instead adopting a cross-grip drop sode-tsuri-komi-goshi. It only scored yuko but that was enough to win him a place in the final.

Cuba's Gonzalez throws Iliadis with a cross drop sode which scored yuko.

Although he had failed to make it to the final, Iliadis was determined not to leave Rio without a medal. In his bronze medal fighting against Dvarby, he showed total commitment in his double-sleeve sode-tsuri-komi-goshi by executing a somersault to ensure a score. He got yuko as the Swede managed to land on his side. In the last minute of their match, Dvarby went for broke and attacked with a  big hugging kosoto-gari which Iliadis countered with a crowd-pleasing hip throw worthy of two ippons.

Greece's Iliadis counters a kosoto attack with a massive hip throw.
Denisov, who had been throwing all of his preliminary round opponents all day with ashi-waza, was back in form after his semi-final defeat. He made short work of Toth, throwing the Hungarian with a classic twitch kosoto-gari for ippon within 30 seconds.

Russia's Denisov proved that he's quite the ashi-waza man.

Just as the semi-final match match between Liparteliani and Denisov was a nail-biting affair despite no score on the board, the final between Liparteliani and Gonzalez was equally tense despite no throws being successfully executed. In the end, it was decided by penalties with the Cuban ahead by one shido against two as he had attacked more, quite often just before the Georgian could establish his favourite grip. It was a largely a tactical match but a good fight nonetheless.

No scores in the final but Gonzalez was the more aggressive and wins by penalties.

Final Results
1. GONZALEZ, Asley (CUB)    
2. LIPARTELIANI, Varlam (GEO)   
3. ILIADIS, Ilias (GRE)
3. DENISOV, Kirill (RUS)  
5. DVARBY, Joakim (SWE)  
5. TOTH, Krisztian (HUN)

Day 5: 2013 Rio World Championships -78kg

Women’s -78kg
The women’s -78kg competition was an interesting one where none of the top seeds of each pool had managed to get through to the semi-finals. Plenty of surprises were in store, not least of which was the little-known finalist from North Korea.

Pool A: Marhinde Verkerk (NED)
The number one seed and the home favourite was Brazil’s Mayra Aguiar. She had done well coming in first place in both the 2013 IJF World Masters in Tyumen and the 2012 IJF World Masters in Almaty. She was also this year’s Paris Grand Slam winner. However, on that day, it was 11th-ranked Marhinde Verkerk from the Netherlands who prevented her from topping the pool.

Verkerk’s first fight was against Japan’s World Junior Champion Akari Ogata. It was not an action-filled match and at the end of five minutes Ogata had accumulated three shidos while Verkerk had none. This brought Verkerk up against Canada’s Amy Cotton. The only score of the match was a yuko from a seoi-nage attack by Verkerk which Cotton tried to counter but ended up landing on her side instead.

Verkerk then went up against Aguair. When the fight reached the last minute mark, it was still scoreless although they had a shido each. Then Aguair got another shido. With time running out, she attempted a desperate drop seoi-nage which allowed Verkerk to apply a sankaku armlock. Aguair tapped.

Verkerk of the Netherlands clamps on a clever sankaku armlock.
Pool B: Kaliema Antomarchi (CUB)

The top favourite here was France’s 4th-ranked Lucie Louette, the reigning European champion and winner of this year’s Paris Grand Slam. But she would make a shock exit in the first round. Her opponent was Cuba’s little-known Kaliema Antomarchi (ranked 70th). Midway through their match, Antomarchi attacked with an osoto-gari that Louette stopped by grabbing the Cuban’s leg. This earned her a hansoku-make.

Antomarchi then fought Australia’s Isabelle Kopecny, whom she threw with a clever uchimata into kouchi-gari combination for ippon. After that she fought Ukraine’s Viktoriia Turks who scored first with a tai-otoshi for waza-ari. Antomarchi struck back with a yoko-sutemi that scored a yuko. In the final minute, she managed to execute a hopping uchimata that landed Turks flat on her back for ippon.

Cuba's Antomarchi attacks with kouchi and with uchimata.

Pool C: Sol Kyong (PRK)
Hungary’s 2nd-ranked Abigel Joo’s first fight was against the unknown North Korean Sol Kyong who had earlier beaten Germany’s Kirsten Thiele through penalties. With two hands gripping Joo’s right sleeve, Sol threw Joo with a sode-tsuri-komi-goshi for yuko in the opening seconds of their match. When Joo attacked with a hooking osoto-gari, Sol surprised her with a massive osoto-gaeshi that sent the Hungarian smashing to the ground for ippon.

Against Japan’s Ruika Sato, Sol yet again attacked with her two-hands-on-one-sleeve sode-tsuri-komi-goshi which scored yuko. Sato evened up the scores with a kosoto-gari for yuko. Then Sol threw with her trademark two-on-one sode-tsuri-komi-goshi once more, this time scoring waza-ari. That was enough to win her the match and a place in the semi-finals.

North Korea's Sol is rather adept with the sode-tsuri-komi-goshi.

Pool D: Catherine Roberge (CAN)
Pool D’s top seed was France’s Audrey Tchemeou. Although she had not had any major victories of late, she was ranked 3rd and as a former world champion, she was the favourite.  But this pool would also see an upset, this time through Canada’s Catherine Roberge.

Roberge’s first fight was against the Dutch player Iris Lemmen, whom she threw with tani-otoshi for waza-ari. Spain’s Marta Tort Merino scored first with a tai-otoshi for yuko but Roberge won the match with another tani-otoshi for waza-ari. Roberge had a tough time in her match against Tchemeou and was down by two shidos, with less than a minute to go, when a standing armlock attempt by the French player ended up with both players on the ground and Roberge on top. She proceeded to pin Tchemeou for ippon.

Canada's Roberge counters Tchemeou's standing armlock attempt and pins her.

The semi-final match between Verkerk and Antomarchi was decided by a yuko score from a seoi-nage by the Dutch player. Try as she might, the Cuban player could not get a score back before time ran out.

Sol, who had earlier thrown two opponents with her unusual two-hands-on-one-sleeve sode-tsuri-komi-goshi, did that same technique on Roberge in their semi-final match. Not only did she do it from a standing position, she even somersaulted in the air to ensure it would end in an ippon. It was a crowd-pleaser.

North Korea's Sol wins again with sode-tsuri-komi-goshi.

Home favourite Aguair didn’t disappoint the crowd when she won her bronze medal match by throwing Roberge with a well-time tai-otoshi that spun the Canadian flat onto her back for


Brazil's Aguiar scores with a well-time tai-otoshi for ippon.

In the other bronze medal fight, after scoring yuko with a kouchi-gari early on, Tcheumeo played a tactical match against Antomarchi and conceded only one shido before time was up. The bronze medal was hers.

In the final, Verkerk was the aggressor. Sol was down by two shidos when she attacked with an unexpected reverse seoi-nage that scored waza-ari. It was a score too big for Verkerk to get back and for the first time in the competition, a true underdog had become world


North Korea's Sol wins with a reverse seoi-nage.

Final Results
1. SOL, Kyong (PRK)    
2. VERKERK, Marhinde (NED) 
3. AGUIAR, Mayra (BRA)
3. TCHEUMEO, Audrey (FRA)
5. ROBERGE, Catherine (CAN)    
5. ANTOMARCHI, Kaliema (CUB) 


Day 5: 2013 Rio World Championships -70kg

-70kg Women
The women’s -70kg division saw a slate of new faces among the top ranks with the sole exception of France’s Olympic and triple World Champion Lucie Decosse who was ranked third going into the 2013 Rio World Judo Championships. Top favourite was the number one seed Kim Polling of the Netherlands, while Colombia’s Yuri Alvear was a dark horse. She was the surprise victor in the 2009 World Championships in Rotterdam and a bronze medallist in the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Pool A: Kim Seong-Yeon (KOR)

Kim Polling did well winning her first two matches by ippon but became unstuck when she met another Kim, the little-known Kim Seong-Yeon from South Korea (ranked 8th). They had fought twice before, the most recent being the 2013 Dusseldorf Grand Prix, and in both cases, South Korea’s Kim lost. But this time around, it was the South Korean who would prevail.

Kim won her first match against Australia’s Sara Collins with a very low, one-handed sode-tsuri-komi-goshi for ippon. That put her up against the Mongolian player, Naranjargal Tsend Ayush, whom she threw with a very fast reverse seoi-nage followed immediately with a pin for ippon.

South Korea's Kim wins her first two matches with sode and reverse seoi.

In Kim's next match, Polling threw her with a high-grip ouchi-gari into makikomi combination that scored a yuko and then rolled her into a hold down. Kim managed to escape though and moments later, responded with a massive kouchi-makikomi that scored waza-ari although it could have easily been an ippon. In ramping up her attacks Polling managed to score another yuko with uchimata and Kim had three shidos on the board, but it was not enough to salvage the situation and in the end, it was the South Korean who went through to the semi-finals.

A tough match between Polling and Kim. In the end Kim prevailed.

Pool B: Laura Vargas Koch (GER)

Although it was another Dutch player, Linda Bolder (ranked 4th), who was the top favourite in Pool B, it was the player ranked just beneath her, Germany’s Laura Vargas Koch, who won the pool.

Vargas Koch won her first bout, against Ecuador’s Vanessa Chala, with a tsuri-komi-goshi for ippon. Her next opponent, Cuba’s Onix Cortes-Aldama, was a much tougher proposition. The Cuban scored a yuko with seoi-nage in the opening seconds and then attacked relentlessly, causing Vargas Koch to get two shidos before throwing her with a harai-makikomi that scored another yuko. With two yukos on the board, the Cuban then switched tact and began to fight defensively, trying to ride the time out. With just about 30 seconds lef, Cortes-Aldama was dangerously close to hansoku-make with three shidos when Vargas Koch hooked in with an ouchi-gari that took her down for waza-ari, followed by a pin for waza-ari-awasatte-ippon.

Vargas Koch managed to throw and pin her opponent in the last minute of the match.

Compared to the Cuban, her next opponent, Angola’s Antonia Moreira, was an easier fight. Vargas Koch scored a waza-ari in the first minute with an ouchi-gari attack followed by a hand movement that landed the Angolan largely on her back for waza-ari. It was the soft landing that prevented it from being an ippon. Moments later, Vargas Koch ended the match with an ouchi-gari into kouchi-gake combination that smashed Moreira to the ground.

Pool C: Hwang Ye-Sul (KOR)
Canada’s 2nd-ranked Kelita Zupancic, a Pan-American champion, was the top favourite here but it was another South Korean, the 11th-ranked Hwang Ye-Sul, who eventually topped the pool. Hwang’s won her first match, against Luxembourg’s Lynn Mossong, with penalty win. Her second match, against Zupancic looked headed the same way when in literally the very last second (with exactly one second left on the clock) Hwang countered a desperate hiza-guruma attack by Zupancic to score waza-ari.

Hwang counters Zupancic's last-ditch hiza-guruma attempt.

After that, a yuko win against Brazil’s Maria Portela, earned her a place in the semi-finals.

Pool D: Yuri Alvear (COL)
France’s Lucie Decosse had peaked at the 2012 London Games and was no longer in top form in Rio (since London, she had lost twice, in the 2013 Paris Grand Slam and the 2013 Tyumen World Masters, both times to Kim Polling). However, she was still a serious contender and would have probably made it to semi-final if Colombia’s World Champion Yuri Alvear did not stand in her way.

Alvear had a good draw, with two byes before meeting her first opponent, Puerto Rico’s 27th-ranked Maria Perez. The Puerto Rican gave her a bit of scare though, scoring two yukos from seoi-nage and ashi-barai before succumbing to Alvear’s last-minute kosoto-gari counter which scored waza-ari. It was a close call for Alvear, who had to face Decosse next.

Alvear very nearly got defeated by Perez but she scored a big one in the last minute.
Perhaps having been jolted by her near defeat to a relative unknown, Alvear came out fighting hard against Decosse causing the French player to get two shidos before attacking her with a rolling soto-makikomi for yuko. She continued with the hard attacks and by the end of the match, not only was Decosse had accumulated three shidos. This was not the Decosse we saw in London.

Alvear soundly defeats Decosse, who was clearly no longer in top form.

In the first semi-final match, between Kim and Vargas Koch, the German player scored first. She came in with a high-grip hooking ouchi-gari. When the South Korean tried to counter with an ura-nage, she turned the attack into a kouchi-gari and scored yuko. Kim struck back with a kosoto-gari for yuko. Both players were even when time ran out so the match went into Golden Score. When Vargas Koch took another high grip stance, Kim decided to go for broke and went for a direct-attack ura-nage. Vargas-Koch hooked in for a kouchi-gari as she was launched into the air and landed on top. She was given a yuko and a passage to the

Kim goes for broke with a massive ura-nage that got countered by Vargas Koch.

Alvear threw Hwang with a soto-makikomi for waza-ari followed by a pin. The South Korean managed to wriggle out of the hold, conceding only a yuko. Alvear then attacked with a sticky-foot kosoto-gari which scored another yuko. With her eye set on the final, Alvear continued with the attacks and scored yet another yuko with a hip throw which she followed up with a pin for waza-ari-awasatte-ippon.

Alvear was all over Hwang, scoring many points in their semi-final match.

In the first bronze medal match, Hwang was clearly outclassed by Polling who threw her in the opening seconds with an ura-nage that scored waza-ari followed immediately with a hold-down for waza-ari-awasatte-ippon.
A bronze medal was a good result considering tthat Polling was recovering from an injury and had not done much training in the lead up to the competition.

A massive ura-nage followed by a hold-down wins Polling the bronze medal.

In the other bronze medal match, Kim opened up the accounts in the opening seconds, throwing Decosse with drop sode-tsuri-komi-goshi for yuko. Try as she might, Decosse was not able to get back the score and at the end of five minutes, Kim was the winner. Decosse meanwhile stood motionless for several moments as it dawned upon her that she would be leaving Rio without a medal.

A hungry Kim outfought a tired Decosse.

With a second world championship title in sight, Alvear came out blazing, throwing Vargas Koch in the opening seconds with a  massive hip throw that looked like it deserved a higher score than the yuko that it received. She rectified that with her follow-up throw, another hip technique that scored ippon. Alvear was double world champion!

Two big hip throws wins Alvear her second world title!

Final Results
1. ALVEAR, Yuri (COL)    
2. VARGAS KOCH, Laura (GER)    
3. POLLING, Kim (NED)  
3. KIM, Seongyeon (KOR) 
5. HWANG, Ye-Sul (KOR)     
5. DECOSSE, Lucie (FRA)