Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Youth Olympic Games, Nanjing 2014 - Day 3

The third and last day of the judo individual competition at the Youth Olympic Games, Nanjing 2014, started with the last two categories sharing the tatami at the Longjiang Gymnasium. The Chinese public saw the Women's -78kg and the Men's -100kg in action.


Second Successful Day in a row for the Judo Initiations

Earlier in the day, the IJF conducted the second judo initiation session at the Youth Olympic Village. Led by Olympic and World Champion, Lucie Decosse from France, and World Champion and Olympic Medallist, Ruben Houkes from the Netherlands, the session was once again very successful and attracted even more young athletes than yesterday. During one hour, up to 40 people participated and discovered the basics of judo. « Having the chance to meet great champions, who are so kind and happy to share their experience and knowledge with us is incredible » said the participants.

At the end of the judo session, several YOG volunteers also asked to the champions if they could come on the tatami to practice: «For the last two days, we have seen the YOG athletes having fun, enjoying themselves with you and we would love to feel the same», explained the volunteers. Thus, one extra session was held by Lucie and Ruben.

Another Success for Judo at the Wanda Plaza

This afternoon, Ruben Houkes, who, besides being a great champion, is also an IJF Judo for Children Commissioner, participated in a public judo presentation at the ‘Wanda Plaza’, a big shopping mall in the Nanjing city centre. In front of hundreds of spectators, he shared his experience with young judoka from a local Chinese club, signed autographs, and participated in a spectacular judo demonstration. The event attracted a lot of media attention. This activity will be held again tomorrow in the same place.

Good Level but the Quota Needs to be Increased

Mr. Marius Vizer, the IJF and SportAccord President, who was present in Nanjing for this last day of individual competition, was really pleased with the level: « We can be really happy with the level of the competition and it’s a good sign for the future. For sure, we have seen here in Nanjing some of the future World and Olympic medallists. » Mr. Vizer also underlined the necessity to reconsider the quota of qualified athletes: « In order to be representative of what judo looks like today, the IOC do need to reconsider the number of athletes that can participate in the Youth Olympic Games in our sport. With a little bit more than 100 competitors, we can not have all weight categories represented and even with the 8 weight classes that are present, it’s difficult to determine who can take part or not. If this number is raised up, the competition level will increase and this will be for the benefit of judo, of the Games and of sport. »

President Vizer (center) today at the Youth Olympic Games

Conclusion of the Individual Tournament

Today the individual competition came to an end, time for Vladimir Barta, the IJF Head Sports Director, to draw a conclusion: « For this age category, the competition really looked like the Olympics. Most of the fighters are now accustomed to international events, but the YOG are slightly different from any other tournament. Thus, even if we only had four weight categories for boys and four weight categories for girls in Nanjing, the atmosphere was incredible and judo showed once again its universality.

I do hope that, in the future, we will see some of the YOG champions becoming Olympic champions. That will be nice to see. Then, we will be able to say that we built a new generation of Olympic champions. Many athletes who came here to Nanjing showed really good skills and potential and all of them were totally understanding of the refereeing rules.

This year, the IJF launched a World Tour and a World Ranking List for Cadets and Juniors. Therefore, the next YOG qualification period will be based on that and it will be similar to what we have at the Olympics.

I would also like to underline that it is always nice to see all the colleagues from other sports and from NOC’s coming to watch judo and to support their athletes. »

Altogether, 103 athletes from 68 countries participated in the individual tournament. The 8 titles went to 8 different countries (Japan, Russia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Brazil, Croatia, Hungary, Iran) and in total 26 nations (Japan, Russia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Brazil, Croatia, Hungary, Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Kyrgyzstan, Romania, Ukraine, Germany, China, South Korea, Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Cuba, Spain, Slovenia, Uzbekistan, Venezuela) were present on the podium out of a maximum of 31 medals distributed in Nanjing. This shows once again, as Mr. Vladimir Barta said, that judo is definitely a universal sport.


Women’s -78kg: MATIC from Croatia on the Top of the Podium

The final of the last individual female category was between Aleksandra SAMARDZIC (BIH) and Brigita MATIC (CRO). Halfway through the contest, despite both athletes trying to throw there was no score on the board and both fighters were penalized, SAMARDZIC for passivity and MATIC for a false attack. A few seconds later, SAMARDZIC was penalized again, giving a small advantage to her Croatian opponent, who was able to keep this score until the end of the final.

The first bronze medal fight saw Sara RODRIGUEZ (ESP) up against Unelle SNYMAN (RSA). After 50 seconds and a long sequence of attacks of the Spanish fighter, SNYMAN was penalized with a shido for passivity. Smaller than her opponent, RODRIGUEZ had no difficulties to drop below the centre of gravity of SNYMAN, but without being really able to complete the attack to gain a score. Then the South African athlete was penalized again. The Spanish entered the last minute with a two shido advantage, that was reduced to one shido just before the end, enough to win the bronze medal.

In the second weight category, Elvismar RODRIGUEZ (VEN) faced Morgane DUCHENE (FRA). The first strong attack came from the French side, when DUCHENE launched a sumi-gaechi at the limit of the fighting area for no score. One minute later, she launched the same movement for yuko. Nevertheless, RODRIGUEZ looked much stronger and that was confirmed when the two competitors entered the last minute of the contest. RODRIGUEZ countered DUCHENE with a sasae-tsuri-komi-achi for waza-ari, immediately continued on the ground with a hold down for ippon.

SAMARDZIC, Aleksandra (BIH) vs. MATIC, Brigita (CRO)

Bronze Medal Fights
RODRIGUEZ, Sara (ESP) vs. SNYMAN, Unelle (RSA)
RODRIGUEZ, Elvismar (VEN) vs. DUCHENE, Morgane (FRA)

Final Results
1. MATIC, Brigita (CRO)
2. SAMARDZIC, Aleksandra (BIH)
3. RODRIGUEZ, Elvismar (VEN)
5. DUCHENE, Morgane (FRA)
5. SNYMAN, Unelle (RSA)
7. DE BRUINE, Naomi (AUS)
7. PASTERNAK, Kamila (POL)

Men’s -100kg: The Title Goes to Iran

The last final of the individual competition was between Ramin SAFAVIYEH (IRI) and Rostislav DASHKOV (KGZ). With two minutes on the clock both athletes were penalized with two shidos for passivity. Totally controlling one another, they were incapable of finding the slightest opportunity to score until the very mast minute, when SAFAVIYEH concluded with a hold down for ippon. During the medal ceremony, the public witnessed a nice gesture of sportsmanship. SAFAVIYEH having been injured during his final contest was assisted onto the medal podium by his team doctor and coach and after the ceremony he was supported round the tatami by the other medallists which was warmly applauded by the audience.

The only bronze medal fight of the category opposed Domenik SCHONEFELDT, from Germany, and Gustavo BASILE, from Argentina. After one minute and a half, SCHONEFELDT followed a left handed uchi-mata, with a right handed sasae for yuko. Only six seconds before the end, SCHONEFELDT concluded this match with an extraordinary counter-attack (ura-nage) for ippon.

SAFAVIYEH, Ramin (IRI) vs. DASHKOV, Rostislav (KGZ)

Bronze Medal Fight
SCHONEFELDT, Domenik (GER) vs. BASILE, Gustavo (ARG)

Final Results
2. DASHKOV, Rostislav (KGZ)

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