Monday, August 15, 2016

-57kg Overview

A total of 23 judokas took part in the women's -57kg division. Among the top competitors were Sumiya Dorjsuren (MGL), Telma Monteiro (POR), Kaori Matsumoto (JPN), Corina Caprioriu, and -- although she wasn't seeded -- Rafaela Silva (BRA).

Pool A: Dorjsuren (MGL)
Dorjsuren looked sluggish in her first bout and had to rely on a shido to get past Sanne Verhagen (NED). She only very narrowly beat Monteiro, during Golden Score, by a shido. Dorjsuren wasn't really attacking properly and was lucky to not have gotten a shido for false attacks. 

Pool B: Matsumoto (JPN)
Matsumoto beat her first opponent, Zouleiha Abzetta Dabonne (CIV) rather easily with newaza. First, she uses a "Huizinga Roll" to pin for yuko. Although Dabonne managed to escape that initial pin, Matsumoto continued with the newaza and secured a second pin, this time for ippon. Her next match, against Automne Pavia (FRA) was a lot tougher and a few times it looked like the very tactical Pavia could have stolen the match but time ran out with no score for either player. The very tense Golden Score period ended when Matsumoto managed to sneak in a sode-tsuri-komi-goshi for waza-ari.

Pool C: Silva (BRA)
Silva, clearly a woman on a mission, threw Miryam Roper (GER) with an uchimata for waza-ari in just 14 seconds. It could easily have been an ippon but it didn't matter because a few seconds later, she countered Roper for waza-ari-awasatte-ippon. Silva continued to demonstrate her throwing capabilities by beating Kim Jandi (KOR) with kosoto-gari for waza-ari. After that, she beat Karakas Hedvig (HUN) with a side-takedown for waza-ari. She looked to be in great form as she stormed into the semi-finals.

Pool D: Caprioriu (ROU)
Caprioriu defeated Nora Gjakova (KOS) with a tomoe-nage for yuko and an uchimata, also for yuko. Next, she threw Lien Chen-Ling (TPE) with tani-otoshi for ippon for a place in the semi-finals.

In the first repercharge match, Portugal's Monteiro used tomoeo-nage against France's Pavia three times. The second time she tried to transition into an armlock but it didn't work. The third time though, she managed to straighten the arm for ippon.

Meanwhile, Taiwan's Lien edged past Hungary's Karakas with a yuko score from a big uchimata that would have scored higher had the Hungarian not spun out as she did.

Dorjsuren made surprisingly short work of Matsumoto by taking her to the edge and dropping underneath her with a drop ippon-seoi-nage for an indisputable ippon.

The second semi-final match, between home favorite Silva and Romania's Caprioriu, had the audience members on the edge of their seats as the match went deep into Golden Score. At the three-minute mark Silva threw caution to the wind and launched into a big hooking osoto-gari. Caprioriu picked her up to try to do an ura-nage but the Brazilian proceeded to take her down for a waza-ari win.

Monteiro, who had been using tomoe-nage a lot in this competition, used it again and scored with it against Caprioriu. Although it was only given a yuko, Monteiro was able fight tactically for the rest of the match and won herself her first Olympic bronze medal.

The Lien-Matsumoto match was an equally exciting one as both players knew each other very well having trained together in Japan. Both also liked to do newaza and it showed in their match. Lien very nearly caught Matsumoto with a sankaku -- similar to the kind she caught Matsumoto with at the 2016 Guadalajara Grand Masters a few months back. For her part, Matsumoto tried a turnover that she specialized in which has caught many international players. She briefly trapped Lien with it but the Taiwanese player, who clearly was familiar with the technique, managed to escape. With less than a minute to go, Matsumoto attacked with kouchi-makikomi -- a technique she doesn't frequently use -- and caught her opponent by surprise. It scored yuko and it was enough to win her the bronze.

The final match gave the home crowd something to cheer about as local hero Silva went up against Mongolia's Dorjsuren for the gold. Both players had a shido on the scoreboard when Dorjsuren attempted a sasae-tsuri-komi-ashi which Silva countered with a hand movement for waza-ari. Although Silva's right arm briefly touched Dorjsuren's legs, it was deemed a legal move because she didn't let go of her grip on the Mongolian's sleeve. Silva then proceeded to fight a cautious tactical game to run out the clock and won herself, and her country, its first judo gold medal in the Games.

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