World Judo Championships:
2: 27 July, 2001
By: Barnaby Chesterman
Go to: Day 1, Day
2, Day 3, Day
out our photo gallery »
second day of the World Judo championships carried on in the same
thrilling vein as the previous day with some excellent judo and tremendous
excitement in front of the IJF's special guest, new IOC president
Dr. Jacques Rogge. Just as the day before, there were some major upsets
and a few young stars lit up the tournament. But not to be outdone,
there were also some stirring performances from some of judo's traditional
Women's under 70kg
With the World and Olympic champion, Sibellis Veranes of Cuba, missing
from the competition, there were more than a few fighters who probably
felt this could be their year. None more so than the beaten finalists
in the last two major international tournaments, Ulla Werbrouck of
Belgium and Britain's Kate Howey. And for a time it looked like they
might just meet in the final.
Howey eased into the last four with a couple of comfortable victories
and a hard fought win against the industrious Canadian, Marie Chisholm.
She was then tested by Amina Abdellatif of France but was more positive
throughout and won a unanimous decision to reach the final for the
Werbrouck was dominant with her Uchi-mata and needed just 60 seconds
in each of her first two rounds to bowl over her opponents. Veranes'
understudy, Regla Leyen, put up a stern test but lost by a single
penalty score in the quarter-final. That pitted Werbrouck against
Masae Uneno of Japan, a 20-year-old who is just starting to make a
name for herself. Two years ago, as a teenager, she reached a bronze
medal fight against Kate Howey, but lasted just five seconds in what
could only be described as a rude awakening to medal fights at world
Last year she was handsomely beaten by Werbrouck in the Olympic first
round, despite having won the Asian championship earlier in the year.
And this year she was a little fortunate to have got this far as she
was 15 seconds from being knocked out by Lea Blavo of Cote d'Ivoire.
But this time she performed at the highest level. Everything went
to plan at first as Werbrouck scored Yuko with Uchi-mata, but after
two minutes Ueno suddenly turned the tie on its head. She caught Werbrouck
with a brilliant left Ashi-guruma to leave the Belgian flat on her
back and out of the final.
Maeda certainly had a score to settle with Howey in the final, and
after just six seconds she had at least improved on there last meeting.
On this occasion, however, Howey had just returned from a five-month
injury lay-off and was clearly not in her prime condition. Just being
in the final was an excellent achievement, but the energy of the 20-year-old
Japanese caused her problems. The fight remained even for the first
half but then Ueno took control, countering a tiring Howey for Yuko
with O-soto-gaeshi. The Briton couldn't recover and had to settle
for yet another silver medal. Howey has two Olympic medals, five world
championship medals and 10 or 11 European championship medals but
only one in that vast collection is a gold medal. Nonetheless, she
was pleased with her achievement. "Considering that I couldn't train
properly for five months because of a shoulder injury, this is a really
good success; more than I could have expected," she said.
Ueno was delighted at having fulfilled a dream and revealed the secret
to her success, forty winks. "I was not good in my third fight against
Lea Blavo and felt depressed afterwards," she said. "In order to build
myself up I simply went to sleep for one hour. This obviously changed
my attitude. That's the medal I have dreamt of for many years."
Werbrouck went on to easily take a bronze medal against Cecilia Blanco
of Spain. And the young Cuban, Leyen took the other place on the podium,
edging out Abdellatif with a unanimous decision.
Men's under 90kg
The reigning World champion, Hidehiko Yoshida of Japan, retired after
last year's Olympic Games, in which he badly injured his elbow. The
silver medallists from both the last world championship and the Olympics
were also missing so the Olympic champion, Mark Huizinga of the Netherlands,
was the overwhelming favourite. Huizinga came unstuck, however, in
his second contest and was surprisingly caught with an Ashi-waza for
Ippon by Khaled Meddah of Algeria.
That opened up the category into and exciting and unpredictable race
for gold. Adrian Croitoru of Romania was one of those possible contenders
but he was dispatched for Ippon by Yoon Dong-Sik of South Korea in
the first round, countered with O-soto-gaeshi in the dying seconds.
Yoon carried through his good form all the way to the semi-final but
then came unstuck against Frederic Demontfaucon of France.
Demontfaucon had only been back in international competition for a
year and a half after two frustrating years out with knee injuries.
But the Frenchman is fighting better than ever, and swung the tie
in his favour with a Waza-ari score from his favourite Tomoe-nage
technique. Despite accumulating Keikoku, and teetering on the edge
of disqualification for dropping, he held out to reach the final.
The other side of the draw featured a couple of unlikely semi-finalists
with Zurab Zviadauri of Georgia taking on Skander Hachicha of Tunisia.
The two were evenly matched and the fight went to a decision which
Zviadauri and Demontfaucon fought a close final until the Frenchman
scored Yuko with Tomoe-nage. That seemed to swing the tide in his
favour and the Georgian appeared to wilt. Demontfaucon took full advantage
and finished the contest with an armlock to take his first world title.
Demontfaucon's first victim, Rassoul Salimov of Azerbaijan, came a
long way through the repechage to challenge for bronze against Hachicha.
The two were evenly matched until the Olympic bronze-medallist and
European runner-up, score Ippon with a massive pick-up. Salimov was
too happy to elaborate on his feelings but did say, "I'm happy. Bronze
- good." He was joined on the podium by Yoon, who beat Amel Mekic
of Bosnia-Herzegovina with a stunning Uchi-mata for Ippon.
Women's under 63kg
Once again an Olympic champion was missing from the line-up. Severine
Vandenhende of France was badly injured in the European championships
in Paris earlier in the year and didn't make the draw. With Sung-Sook
Jung now retired and coaching the Korean team, the other two Olympic
medallists were the favourites. Shufang Li of China did not last long,
however, and was outclassed by another Olympic medallist (in the under
70kg category) from last year, Ylenia Scapin of Italy. Since the retirement
of Jenny Gal, Scapin has stepped down from under 70kg and she looks
strong at under 63kg.
The other Olympic medallist, Gella Vandecaveye of Belgium was in what
seemed to be a much easier draw and had few problems in reaching the
semi-final. There she faced the Austrian, Claudi Heill, and the two
could barely be separated throughout four minutes of Judo. It went
to a decision and to the derision of a strong Austrian contingent
in the crowd, Vandecaveye took a split decision to reach her third
successive final. Scapin looked to be a likely opponent until she
was thrown for Ippon in the quarter-final by another brilliant young
Cuban, Anaisis Hernandez. But she didn't make the final either and
was out-foxed by Sara Alvarez of Spain in the semi-final.
Alvarez had already gone one better than in the last two World Championships
where she won bronze medals, but the 22-year-old had dreams of the
top tier. Vandecaveye, however, was eager to win back the title she
took in 1993 in Hamilton. Having suffered heartache two years ago
and in the Olympic Games last year, Vancaveye was on a mission. She
took the fight to the Spaniard and scored Waza-ari with Ashi-waza
early on. But that wasn't enough for the Belgian and she continued
to press forward. Alarez never got going in her first world final
and Vandecaveye finished her off with a drop Seoi-nage for Ippon.
Vandecaveye then revealed that she was once again fighting with an
injury. Torn knee ligaments almost put paid to her Olympic participation
last year and a back injury before the European championships earlier
this year restricted her movement to the extent she could barely walk
off the mat after securing a seventh European title. But her latest
injury had a touch of farce about it. While cooking dinner a couple
of weeks ago, Vandecaveye dropped a kitchen knife on her big toe,
severing the tendons. There was nice finishing touch to the victory
for the Belgian as her compatriot, IOC president Dr. Jacques Rogge,
presented her with the gold medal.
Hernandez added to an excellent performance by the Cuban women by
bouncing back to win bronze with a stunning Uchi-mata against Urska
Zolnir of Slovenia. That maintained the Cubans record of a medal in
every women's division, and with fighters like Verdecia still to come,
it would be no surprise if the Cuban women complete a clean sweep.
Japan matched that record with Ayumi Tanamoto taking the other bronze
medal. She actually strangled Claudi Heill unconscious in doing so,
but the Austrian made a swift recovery to the relief of everyone in
Men's under 81kg
Incredibly yet another Olympic champion was absent from the line up,
but this time it was because Makoto Takimoto was beaten in the Japanese
trials. His place was taken by the former World and Olympic champion
at under 73kg and under 71kg, Kenzo Nakamura. To unsuccessful years
in the lighter division had led Nakamura to step up to under 81kg
this season. That move looked to be justified as he took gold in the
Paris tournament, and he also started well here.
He stormed through to the semi-finals with some impressive Ippon victories,
including a huge Te-guruma to beat Flavio Honorato of Brazil, younger
brother of the under 90kg Olympic medallist, Carlos. There he faced
the powerful Estonian, Alexsei Budolin, who had blitzed all oppoenents
in the European championships two months ago. Budolin was dominant
here too and Nakamura was just another victim for the explosive Estonian.
The two fought out a gripping battle but Budolin won it with Waza-ari
from a powerful Russian-style Uchi-mata, with the lead arm over the
near shoulder, gripping the belt. Nakamura had no answer to that and
Budolin moved into the final. But despite his victory, Budolin bowed
respectfully to the great champion as he shook his hand.
The other semi-final was equally impressive between the last two World
Champions, Cho In-Chul of South Korea and reining title-holder, Graeme
Randall of Great Britain. Both stormed to the last four in impressive
fashion scoring a series of Ippon victories. Randall looked the more
determined to hold on to his mantle and attacked most in the semi-final.
Cho still looked dangerous but offered little, until 32 seconds form
the end. Randall pushed forward, anticipating a decision, and was
punished with a lightning Ippon-seoi-nage for Ippon, just when he
looked the most likely finalist.
Cho started slowly again in the final and seemed almost scared of
Budolin. The Estonian, who's coach was sporting a particularly fetching
bandana, pushed for a score but found the Korean quick to take evasive
action. Cho was penalised twice, but just as it looked like he would
lose, once again he pulled a big throw out of the bag. Cho attacked
with Ouchi-gari and then switched to a Khabarelli pick-up to score
Ippon and regain the world title.
Cho paid tribute to his Estonian opponent and said he thought Budolin
would be champion himself one day. But he put his victory down to
good planning, rather than a moment of brilliance. "My strategy was
to play it safe at the beginning and wait for my opponent to tire
and wait for an opportunity. This plan worked perfectly," he said.
Randal was devstated at losing his title and struggled to raise his
level in the fight for bronze. Elkhan Rajabli of Azerbaijan, on the
other hand, was eager to make an impact on world judo himself, and
was far from overawed by his opponent. Rajabli managed a couple of
low scores but that proved enough to win bronze. Ironically, Randall's
first victim, Sergui Aschwanden, bounced back from his crushing defeat
to the Briton, to take the other bronze medal. Aschwanden was electric
in throwing Nakamura for Ippon a peculiar O-goshi variation, before
embarking on a lap of honour. In fact none of the medallists matched
Aschwanden's celebrations and the young Swiss fighter was on such
a high he almost took off right out of the stadium. He dedicated his
medal to his coach, saying, "I love Leo Held, my coach. This is a
super day, it's really great."
At the end of the second day, the Japanese still lead the way in the
medal table with three gold, a silver and two bronze. Five other nations
have a single gold medal each, but surprisingly not Cuba, yet.
Ryoko Tamura (JPN)
KYE, Sun-Hui (PRK)
LUPETEY, Yurisleidis (CUB)
VANDECAVEYE, Gella (BEL)
UENO, Masae (JPN)
Noriko Anno (JPN)
YUAN, Hua (CHN)
LEBRUN, Celine (FRA)
LOUNIFI, Anis (TUN)
MIRESMAEILI, Arash (IRI)
MAKAROV, Vitali (RUS)
CHO, In-Chul (KOR)
DEMONTFAUCON, Frederic (FRA)
Kosei Inoue (JPN)
MIKHAYLIN, Alexandre (RUS)
MIKHAYLIN, Alexandre (RUS)