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)

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