What an outstanding season for Dutch youngster Vera Wandel, seeded number one and also the world number one, did not make a liar of her ranking. Already a gold medallist at the European Youth Olympic Festival held in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia, at the end of July, and also at the European Championships in Porec, Croatia, she was definitely a big favourite of the competition.
Her opponent in the final was Zeynep Betul Sarikaya who is the second Turkish athlete to qualify for her respective final, imitating her U40kg compatriot beautifully. She placed 5th at the last European Cadet Championships and this performance illustrates good progression and once again the good health of the Turkish team.
Both Wandel and Sarikaya were producing powerful judo, but through the first phase of the final, the Dutch competitor seemed always a notch ahead of her opponent, to force her to be penalised twice. It wasn’t enough to win though and so it was time for golden score. Despite some borderline drops during the match that could have been penalised, Wandel was eventually more active than Sarikaya, who received her third penalty; a gold medal for Wandel. It must be underlined that the women’s team of Türkiye, which had three athletes engaged today, took three medals. Maybe the gold is missing but the overall form of the team is amazing.
Wandel became the third Cadet World Champion of the Netherlands. In 2015 both Sanne Vermeer and Simeon Catharina took the world title, also in Sarajevo, this time the Dutch lightweight took the gold medal, the biggest in her career.
Enkhbulag Jamiyan (MGL) and Umidakhon Burkhonjonova (UZB) met for the first bronze medal. The match was awarded to Umidakhon Burkhonjonova after Enkhbulag Jamiyan was penalised with hansoku-make for a head-dive, which is totally forbidden, to guarantee the safety of the judoka and so it was bronze for Burkhonjonova.
It was Oses Beorlegui (ESP) and Rebecca Valeriani (ITA) who fought for the second bronze medal. Valeriani scored a waza-ari with a low seoi-nage, that was cancelled by the video refereeing as she did not get the exact landing with a 90 degree angle.
Her second attempt was better and this time she achieved the landing and the waza-ari. With two shido to her name too, things began to get difficult for Beorlegui, who couldn’t do anything to prevent Rebecca Valeriani from winning the bronze medal.