Tuesday, August 16, 2016

-70kg Overview

There were 24 judokas competing in the -70kg division. Top contenders include Kim Polling (NED), Laura Vargas Koch (GER), Yuri Alvear (COL) and Gevrise Emane (FRA).

Pool A: Tachimoto (JPN)
Polling was the top seed but Haruka Tachimoto (JPN) had beaten her at the 2015 Paris Grand Slam so this would not be an easy fight. Polling scored first with a drop seoi-nage for yuko. Tachimoto responded with osoto-gari for yuko. The fight then went into Golden Score where Polling was thrown again with an osoto-gari for yuko. And with that, she was out of the competition.

Tachimoto, who had prior to her match with Polling, beaten Chao Zhou (CHN) with a kosoto-gari and a pin for waza-ari-awasatte-ippon, had a much harder fight against Kelita Zupancic (CAN). The match went into Golden Score where Tachimoto scored with osoto-gari for waza-ari.

Pool B: Vargas Koch (GER)
Vargas Koch had a surprisingly tough time against Antonia Moreira (ANG) and seemed relieved when the Angolan player accidentally grabbed her leg resulting in a hansoku-make. Her next opponent, Bernadette Graf (AUT), was on paper a much tougher opponent but here, Vargas Koch was able to throw her with soto-makikomi for ippon.

Pool C: Alvear (COL)
In another incident where a top favorite had difficulty with a relative unknown, Alvear had great difficulty dealing with Maria Perez (PUR) and only managed to scrape through with a penalty win in Golden Score. As was the case with Vargas Koch, after having a tough time against a relative unknown, Alvear was then able to throw a much tougher opponent for ippon. In this case it was Maria Bernabeu (ESP) whom she threw with an osoto-kosoto combination.

Pool D: Conway (GBR)
Emane was the top seed in this pool but when she came up against against Sally Conway (GBR). Emane scored with a drop sode-tsuri-komi-goshi for yuko. Conway then tried a sumi-gaeshi that failed. Emane pounced on top of her and briefly pinned Conway for what looked like a sure win on the ground. Remarkably, the British player was able to turn things around by rolling Emane onto her back and pin her for ippon. It was a great reversal of fortune. Conway then had to fight Linda Bolder (ISR) whom she threw with a sasae-tsuri-komi-ashi for ippon.

The repercharge match between Canada's Zupancic and Austria's Graf was an epic battle full of drama. An ura-nage by Graf gave the Austrian the lead by waza-ari. Zupancic then pins Graf for 14 seconds when Graf escaped. Had she held on for one second longer, the scores would have been even at a waza-ari each and the match would have probably gone into Golden Score. But Graf escapes and wins the match.

Bolder's match against Bernabeu was less interesting and in the end the Spanish player won by penalties.

Tachimoto showed her throwing capabilities by dispatching Vargas Koch with an osoto-gari for waza-ari.

Alvear had a much harder time against her opponent, Conway and the match went into Golden Score. There, Conway attempted a kouchi-gake which got countered for waza-ari.Alvear now had the chance to add an Olympic gold to her three world championship gold medals.

In the first bronze medal match, a confident Conway executes a perfectly-timed counter against Graf's kouchi which scored yuko and was enough to win her the match as Graf was not able to respond in the time left.

Vargas Koch does an ouchi-gake into kouchi-gake combination against Bernabeu in Golden Score. She got a waza-ari for that and with it, Germany's first bronze medal of the competition.

Tachimoto made the mistake of incurring a shido early in the match but Alvear, who is a big thrower, was not content to just ride the time out. Midway through the contest, Alvear came in with a big hip throw which Tachimoto was able to counter, for yuko. Tachimoto then immediately clamped on a pin for waza-ari-awasatte-ippon. It was a good victory for an unexpected winner.

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