Friday, August 30, 2013

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) 


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