What was more surprising, the gold for Distria Krasniqi or the first loss of Daria Bilodid to a Japanese opponent? Distria Krasniqi of Kosovo deserves the credits for her golden performance at the IJF Masters in Doha. It was her third Masters Gold medal. If she can win the Masters, she might be the Olympic Champion U48kg within 200 days.
In the final, we could legitimately expect to see her face the double world champion, Daria Bilodid (UKR), who made her comeback in the lightweight category after a test in U52kg during Grand Slam Hungary last October. Yet it was Tonaki Funa (JPN), world champion in 2017, who won with a waza-ari against Bilodid, whose reach and the last desperate attacks at the end of the match did not allow her to score.
Arriving in Doha with the world number one bib, Kosovan judoka Distria Krasniqi, already a winner of the Masters in 2019, had additional pressure on her shoulders. However, this did not prevent her from reaching the final after a flawless run against Marusa Stangar (SLO), Catarina Costa (POR) and Melanie Clement (FRA), winning two of her confrontations by ippon. In the final, in less than a minute, Krasniqi had taken the measure of her opponent and had scored a first waza-ari with uchi-mata. Well installed, with a strong right hand on the back, the Kosovan mastered her subject perfectly and less than a minute later she scored a second waza-ari with a ko-soto-gake, allowing her to win her third gold medal at the Masters.
Very disappointed not to be able to participate in the final, Daria Bilodid entered the contest for the bronze medal in which she was opposed to Catarina Costa (POR). Perfectly concentrated, Bilodid gave her opponent no chance and in under 60 seconds, during a sequence on the ground, immobilised her with her favorite technique, sankaku-jime. Coming to Doha to win gold, the Ukrainian leaves with bronze, a small consolation for the one who dreams of only first place.
In the other match for bronze, Urantsetseg Munkhbat (MGL), the first female world champion in Mongolian sporting history, back in 2013, was opposed to Melanie Clement (FRA), third in the Masters in China in 2019. The Frenchwoman stepped onto the tatami, knowing full well that she had to be vigilant on the ground, given the Mongolian mastery of the exercise. For most of the match, Clement appeared to be able to dodge Munkhbat's ne-waza, but as the end of regular time approached, the Mongolian finally applied an unstoppable arm lock, to score ippon and win her third medal at a World Judo Masters.