Every four years, athletes around the world prepare themselves and compete in regional tournaments in order to make a name for themselves, putting themselves out there for other athletes to notice and be wary of who they will possibly face off in the future. Today’s Judo contests were in the Women’s 48 kg division and the Men’s 60kg division. The best athletes from around the world in these divisions competed at the Carioca Arena 2, in order to test their might and find out who was going to lift the Olympic medals.
Women’s 48kg Highlights
Paula Pareto made history by becoming the first Argentine – male or female – to win Olympic gold in judo. Pareto, who previously won bronze in 2008, beat South Korea’s Jeong Bo-Kyeong in the final round. Of course, upsets did happen during the day and that’s what makes the sport so exciting. Brazil’s defending Olympic champion of the women’s 48 kg division, Sarah Menezes, was defeated in the quarterfinals by Cuban judoka Dayaris Mestre Alvarez while the top seed of this division, Mongolia’s Uranstetseg Munkhbat, also lost to Jeong Bokyeong of South Korea. Menezes and Munkhbat would eventually end up facing each other in the repechage, with the match going the distance as neither women were able to mount any serious offense with the match going into golden score period, where Munkhbat caught Sarah in an arm-bar and forced her to submit.
While there were noticeable upsets in this tournament, there were also surprises as well; Ami Kondo of Japan competed in her first Olympics and managed to win bronze at just 21-years-old, showing that the sky is the limit for her, while unknown Judoka Galbadrakh Otgontsetseg also won a bronze medal for her nation of Kazakhstan, a country not very well known for its strong Judo roots. She managed to make the podium by defeating Cuba’s Mestre Alvarez – by ippon due to an outside foot sweep – who had just upset defending Brazilian champion Sarah Menezes.
Men’s 60kg Highlights
Day one’s gold medal goes to the Russian Beslan Mudranov. In the final, Mudranov fought against Kazakhstan’s Yeldos Smetov to a draw which led to the golden score period in which Mudranov managed to score a waza-ari on Yeldos to win the match and bring Russia their fourth ever gold medal in Judo. Prior to this competition, Kazakhstan had never won a medal before in Judo, but by the time the competition was over their two star athletes had won two medals. Galbadrakh won a bronze in the women’s 48 kgs and Smetov managed to impress everyone on his way to the final which he lost, winning silver.
In the bronze medal contests, Japan’s Takato Naohisa managed to defeat Azerbaijan’s Safarov, who was noticeable for defeating the favourite to win the competition, Brazil’s Felip Kitada, with a beautiful Tai Otoshi to win the match by Ippon. Safarov’s bronze medal match against the seasoned Takato didn’t go the same way as he was penalized twice – one for illegal gripping and the other because of inactivity – which caused his downfall while Takato was the one who managed to push the action, constantly looking to score the ippon with quick throws while his opponent was just too defensive.
In the other Bronze medal match, Diyorbek Urozbev defeated Felipe Kitadai in the repechage by ippon to make it through to go up against the Georgian, where he managed to win by yuko due to a brilliantly timed foot sweep to win the bronze medal.