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Amazing day for Japan, Korea and Distria Krasniqi

24 Oct 2015 17:50


Another good day for the Asian judoka at the World Junior Championships. At the second day Japan added two world titles, making four, and Korea also doubled the figures with Kang Heon-Cheol who won the men’s U73kg category. Europe celebrated another Kosovarian gold medal; Distria Krasniqi won the first European World title.

Distria Krasniqi added the third consecutive great success in three weeks time. She started the October tour in Lisbon with a superb silver medal behind Majlinda Kelmendi and last week at the most important Grand Slam Krasniqi reached the semi final but finished fifth. In Abu Dhabi Krasniqi captured the world title U52kg, as successor of Majlinda Kelmendi, but formally the first ever World Junior title as in 2009 Kelmendi competed under the IJF flag when she took the world title. After hard work Krasniqi finished the job with a simple but amazingly fast barai on the left foot of Georgian finalist Mariam Janashvili, another super talent. The full podium was European this time with Astride Gneto of France who won bronze and Portuguese hope Mariana Esteves who won the second bronze medal in two years time for Portugal. In 2014 it was Nuno Saraiva who won bronze at day 2 U73kg.

Krasniqi was the best among 39 judoka U52kg. Six matches to win before she could be crowned as world champion, very unusual. Krasniqi wasn’t even seeded, but finished first in a strong poule where Astride Gneto als reached the quarter final but Japanese Kana Tomizawa, Patricia Toth (HUN) and Betina Temelkova (BUL) lost among other talents.

Croatian Tihea Topolovec reached the semi final against Krasniqi but finished fifth, where Esteves survived the repechage successfully. The 19-year old Krasniqi follows Amandine Buchard who in Fort Lauderdale last year and Sappho Coban who took the world title in 2013.

Japan’s Haruka Funakubo defeated Stefania Dobre of Romanian in the final U57kg. Funakubo bested three Europeans on the stage with Sarah Harachi of France and Andreja Leski of Slovenia who both took bronze. Funakubo succeeded her country woman Momo Tamaoki. Funakubo won her five matches but Dobre was three penalties behind before she came into oseikomi in the last 20 seconds, which gave Funakubo a relaxed twenty seconds to enjoy her victory a bit more.

Masaya Asari of Japan won the second gold medal. He was too strong in the final for Alberto Martin Gaitero of Spain. Nonetheless is was another statement that the youth and strategy of Spain works. Last year Spain won the world title by Fran Garrigos and was close with Nikoloz Sherazadishvili, now Gaitero was close, but Asari was too strong for everyone today and finished all his six bouts by ippon. With a yuko lead in the match Asari came into juji gatame in the last 30 seconds and finished his sixth match by ippon.

Brazilian Daniel Cargnin won bronze, he had a good warm up this year in Prague and was now successful after five matches, he lost the quarter final to Asari. Hidayet Heydarov won bronze for Azerbaijan with a strangle in his bronze medal bout, although he lost his semi final against Asari, at least a last victory and bronze after 6 tough matches in a field of 45 judoka.

Korean Heon-Cheol Kang won the gold U73kg against Tamazi Kirakozashvili of Georgia. The Korean winner of Berlin last year defeated the European champion of this year. A bit sad for the Georgian who also lost the World Cadet world title final in 2013 and Youth Olympic Games final, but the line is still up and at least he won the European title in his best year so far.

Slovenian judoka Martin Hojak is still progressing and he won the bronze today. It is the fifth medal for a junior man at World Junior Championships for Slovenia. Klemen Ferjan was the first in 1998, in 2013 Adrian Gomboc was the previous Slovenian men to medal. Brazilian Lincoln Neves booked great progression as well as he finished seventh last year in Fort Lauderdale but now won bronze against Huseyn Rahimli (AZE).

Japan still superior in Abu Dhabi with four gold medals followed by Korea with two champions.

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Related Judo Photos

  • Stefania Dobre (ROU) - World Championships Juniors Abu Dhabi (2015, UAE) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation
  • Murat Bektas (TUR) - World Championships Juniors Abu Dhabi (2015, UAE) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation
  • Jan Kosak (SLO) - World Championships Juniors Abu Dhabi (2015, UAE) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation

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