Being world number one Jessica Klimkait of Canada had a great card to play to consolidate her role as world leader. However, she found in her path an increasingly successful Frenchwoman Sarah Leonie Cysique (FRA), whose technical outbursts had impressed during the 2019 world championships, although she could not climb on the podium.
Thus after a bronze medal at the last European Championships in Prague, Cysique raised the bar by stepping into the Masters final. It should be remembered that last year she finished 7th in the competition.
After nearly 5 minutes of golden score and a breathless final, so much so that you could hear the French judoka’s shortness of breath. Cysique seemed to have found the solution to control YOSHIDA, but she collapsed in the end, to be immobilised. Cysique certainly has the makings of a great champion. Ahead of her, an athlete with an impressive prize list, Yoshida Tsukasa (JPN), world champion in 2018, winner of the 2018 Masters and seven times a gold medalist at grand slams, to speak only of the most striking results.
In the first match for bronze, we found the veteran Telma Monteiro (POR), winner of the same World Judo Masters but back in 2011, in Baku. Monteiro's longevity is absolutely incredible at this level of competition. She was pitted against a younger but no less talented athlete, Nora Gjakova (KOS). Another golden score was necessary for Gjakova to score waza-ari with a counterattack, to win her second bronze medal in a Masters.
Finally for day one, in the second bronze medal contest, the world number one, Jessica Klimkait (CAN) faced the Israeli Timna Nelson Levy, who was robust and rough throughout the day. 13 seconds were enough for Klimkait to score a clear ippon with o-uchi-gari and in a third medal in the World Judo Masters. Klimkait: “Although I didn’t think it would be over so quickly, I did expect a good outcome because I know her well. I don’t often get to make that kind of move in a tournament because the girls don’t usually get too close to me. It was nice to be able to show a different side of my judo. The opportunity was there so I took it,” explained the 24-year-old.
Klimkait was defeated by France’s Sarah Léonie Cysique, who went on to secure the silver medal. The bout was decided by waza-ari at the very end of regulation time. Klimkait: “My approach wasn’t what I wanted it to be in that match. I wasn’t able to adjust my strategy,” recounted Klimkait, who says she’s in great shape right now. “Of course I wanted to win, but it was also a good reminder that I have to adjust my approach right from the start, so it was a bittersweet loss. Although I didn’t manage to do it today, it was a good learning experience because we haven’t had a lot of chances to compete lately. I intend to take advantage of every learning opportunity I get.”
The Doha World Judo Masters are taking place and countries around the world can participate in a world-class event, can perform at their best and can still transcend themselves to claim the precious World Masters title. Yoshida won her second Masters title. She won in 2018, Korean Kim Jin A took the title in 2019. Sumiya Dorjsuren is recordholder with four consecutive Masters titles from 2013-2017.