Joanne van Lieshout on fire at Junior Worlds
Holland has won its third Junior World title in the U63kg category. Joanne van Lieshout was able to capture the world title whereas Do Velema (2013) and Sanne Vermeer (2018) went ahead of her. Van Lieshout Dominated the second day in the women’s U63kg class at the Worlds in Olbia. Current Junior World Champion, Szofi Ozbas of Hungary was the indisputable favourite of the competition, but in the quarter-final she faced future finalist Joanne Van Lieshout, who was on fire today in Olbia.
After the Dutch fighter scored a waza-ari, Ozbas was incapable of scoring back. Van Lieshout continued on her way as she eliminated French Mélodie Turpin, who so far had a perfect day. In the final, Van Lieshout was opposed to Laura Vazquez Fernandez (ESP), who, without making too much noise, climbed one by one the steps of a great day of judo.
After three previous matches between the two athletes, Van Lieshout always won and once again she took the lead with a strong waza-ari, pushing Laura Vazquez Fernandez to her limits. With one minute remaining on the clock, Joanne Van Lieshout pinned down the Spanish competitor for ippon. It seems obvious that no-one could stop the determination of the Dutch athlete to become junior world champion today in Olbia.
Joanne Van Lieshout said "I wasn’t feeling great this morning but I didn’t know why. I decided to take the day match by match and I saw I was growing round after round. In the end I felt good and I stayed focused until the end. Now I will enjoy the gold and have a little rest before the team competition."
Brigitta Varga is a member of the active and performing Hungarian delegation. To step on the podium she still had one important match for bronze against Mélodie Turpin (FRA). Varga produced a massive hip technique to throw Turpin for ippon and a well deserved bronze medal at the end of the day.
Szofi Ozbas, who is a regular on the World Judo Tour now, still had a chance to add one more line to her already beautiful prize list. For the bronze medal she met Katarina Kristo (CRO), who was for sure inspired by the feat of Barbara Matic, earlier this season, when the Croatian competitor became the first judo world champion ever in her country. Obviously Katarina Kristo had a plan and she followed it. Every time Szofi Ozbas put her strong left arm under Kristo's arm, the latter was attacking to avoid Ozbas and install her kumi-kata. Slowly but surely the match was getting close to the end with nothing scored but at the very last second, the tactic that Katarina Kristo had been applying, worked out and she scored a waza-ari with a yoko-otoshi to win bronze.