Edition No. 25. Winter, 2000. Today is

2001 Tornois de Paris Judo Championships

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By: Nicola Fairbrother

Day 2 (11 Feb, 2001), Day 1

The Heavyweights

The second day of the Tornois de Paris in the Parc de Bercy stadium brought more spectacular judo as established competitors clashed with new, lesser known fighters. Like previous years, the French organisers helped spectators to pick out the champions by putting a flourescent stripe on the start number of all Olympic (yellow), World (orange), European and Paris Tournament (green) champions. It was easy enough to detect the top fighters - but today, with David Douillet, Stephane Traineau, Mark Huizinga, Kosei Inoue and Shinohara all absent there were few coloured start numbers to look out for in the men's competition. The women's event boasted a greater number of recognisable champions, with Werbrouck, Howey, Van der Hende, Maeda, LeBrun all fighting. But this tournament has marked the start of a new cycle. It is the beginning of a new Olympiad and this weekend has seen the emergence of a stream of new competitors. Like the bright, young Cuban team, which with their four medals here in Paris, appear to be already following in the footsteps on their 'big sisters.' Portugal sent their junior team - and yesterday 20-year-old Joao Pina showed his potential grabbing a bronze at 66kgs. Today, there was the young French fighter Lucie Decosse who stole the limelight at 63kgs. But the youngsters didn't have it all their own way with Werbrouck and Kovacs having a few words to say about that.

An early upset was in store for Olympic Champion, Severine Vanderhende, as China's Shufang Li threw the French woman for ippon in the first round. Li carried on that sort of form into the final, with her dynamic judo and sharp seoinage taking her past Este Csizmadia (HUN) and then Anais Hernandez (CUB). On the other side, Japan's Keiko Maeda looked in convincing form with wins for the world champion against Claudia Hiel (AUT) by ippon and then France's Christell Faure. But, in the semi-final France's Lucie Decosse broke up Maeda's defence, scoring twice. The convincing manner in which Decosse won makes it look like this fighter has a bright future ahead of her. The final confirmed her potential, as Decosse unleashed a lighting fast osoto-gari off one sleeve grip, to throw Li for ippon in under a minute. Severine Vanderhende came back through the repechage without a hitch and took the bronze throwing Keiko Maeda for ippon with uchimata. Satisfied with the bronze, Vanderhende said: "It´s not a bad result - After resting after the Sydney Olympic Games I came here only 60 percent fit - so a 3rd place - that's not bad." The young Cuban team took another bronze with Hernandez edging past Heill (AUT) on a decision.

The 70kgs (rather like the men's 81kgs yesterday) was over flowing with strong fighters all capable of figuring in the medals. In the end, it was Belgium's Ula Werbrouck who emerged as the winner, back at the top of a division she has dominated for so long. Werbrouck looked on form as she dispatched the Olympic silver medallist, Kate Howey (GBR) with one of her classic uchimatas in the earlier rounds and held down Sviatian Tsimashenka (BLR). In the final against Japan's Masae Ueno, Werbrouck took early control of the fight, gripping tactically and blocking Ueno's uchimata attempts. After two minutes Werbrouck sneaked a koka sitting the Japanese fighter down with an ouchi gari - enough to win her the fight, and another Tornois de Paris gold medal. France's Armina Abdellatif won the bronze throwing Britain's Kate Howey and Ursula Martin (ESP) took the other bronze throwing Tsimashenka in just 25 seconds. The Spanish European Champion connected with her koshiguruma for a perfect ippon throw.

France took their third women's title of the weekend withs Celine Lebrun beating Britain's Michelle Rogers in a hard-fought final. Both skilful and upright fighters the final turned quickly into a battle of ashi-waza. Rogers threatened with a kouchi-gari several times, but in the end it was Lebrun to open the scores with a deashi-bari for koka, which decided the fight. France's Olympic silver medallist had fought outstandingly throughout the day, beating the Olympic bronze medallist, Simon Richter (ROM) by ippon in the first round and then beating the 1992 Olympic medallist, Heidi Rakels by waza-ari in the semis. Japan and Holland took the two bronzes. Claudia Zwiers beat Rakels and Mizu Matsuzaki ended Anne Mondiere's (FRA) hopes with an osoto-gari for ippon.

Japan's Midori Shintani took the gold medal throwing Brigitte Olivier (BEL) twice for waza-ari. The small Japanese fighter threw twice with the same technique - a low ippon seoinage. Karina Bryant (GBR) beat Becquard-Bocque (FRA) for the bronze and Belgian, Veys beat Gerber (GER) with apparent ease, throwing the German backwards with a slow ouchi gari. Cuba's Estela Rodgriguez - double Olympic silver medallist - returned from a four-year absence from competition, but her comeback was cut short with Alena Shabanovich throwing Rodgriguez in the first half minute of the first fight.

The 90kgs final between Olympic bronze medallist Frederic Demontfaucon and Japan's Masatoshi Tobitsuka promised to be one of the matches of the tournament. However, an early waza-ari from Tobitsuka set the tone for the final, with Demontfaucon never quite managing to get the better of the Japanese's strong right collar grip. The French crowd like their fighter who is both powerful and agile - a fighter that can always pull something out of the bag. But despite a last-ditch tomoe-nage to juji-gatame attempt from Demontfaucon which left Tobitsuka clutching his elbow in pain today the Frenchman had to be content with silver. Tobitsuka - another name to look out for the future - had beaten Dimitri Morozov (RUS), Vince Carabetta (FRA) and David Alarza (ESP) to make the final.
Bronze medals went to David Bozouklian (FRA) who beat Stephane Mongelas (FRA) and to David Alarza (ESP). The Spanish former junior world champion beat Canadian Keith Morgan in the bronze medal match, throwing last year's bronze medallist for ippon with a classy uchimata.

Hungary's Antal Kovacs scored three times on Iveri Dvikurauli to win the 100kgs final. It was a controlled match full of small scores with Dvikurauli himself notching up three yukos, but it was Kovac's uchimata that decided the fight scoring waza-ari. Kovac had earnt his place in the final after throwing Arme Bagdasarov (UZB) with just 20 seconds left on the clock in the semi-final. Michael Jurack beat fellow German Daniel Gurschner by a yuko to take the bronze and Bagsdasarov came back from his semi-final loss to score waza-ari in the bronze medal match - enought to keep Ghista Lemaire and even the French crowd at bay. Tomokazu Inoue (JPN) almost got the press and spectators fooled. With everyone expecting the Olympic and World Champion to step onto the mat it was awhile before people realised it was in fact Kosei's brother. However, Tomokazu executed a perfect version of his brother's ouchi gari to uchimata to beat Portugal's Joao Santo and went on to beat Korea's Jae-Sik Lim before losing to Dvikuralai in the quarters.

To win this title is something special. To win it and be French must be something else. Indeed, today in the Parc de Bercy stadium Frenchman Jermoe Drefus must have felt like he could walk on water as he threw the huge Spanish fighter, Aytami Ruano to take the gold. The crowd went wild, as Dreyfus countered the Spanish man with a low uranage. Dreyfus' back came close to touching the tatami first, but Ruano rolled over with sufficient impetus to demonstrate the Frenchman had iniated the throw and was rightfully awarded ippon. Earlier, Dreyfus had beaten Ukraine's Yevgen Sotnikov in the semi-final. It was one of the contests of the day. Sotnikov had opened the scoring with a running kata-guruma for waza ari. With David Douillet in the chair encouraging him on, Dreyfus kept the pressure on throwing for two yukos before finally latching on to a harai-maki-komi which rolled the Ukrainian onto his back. In the bronze medal matches, Takahashi (JPN) caught Sotnikov off balance to take the fight and the medal. On the other side of the draw, Zoltan Csizmadia (HUN) neatly turned Mathie Bataille for ippon with tsurikomi-ashi.



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Tadashi Nomura (JPN)

Yordanis Arenciba (CUB)

Ferrid Kheder (FRA)

Maarten Arens (NED)

Frederic Demontfaucon (FRA)

Kosei Inoue (JPN)

Yasuyuki Muneta (JPN)


Atsuko Nagai (JPN)

Liu Yuxiang (CHI)

Magali Baton (FRA)

Jung Sung-Sook (KOR)

Ulla Werbrouck (BEL)

Edinanci F. Silva (BRA)

Yuan Hua (CHI)

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All photographs copyright © Bob Willingham 2005 unless otherwise stated.

Editor and Photographer: Bob Willingham
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