The favourites had a tough time in the U57kg category of the Cadet World Championships in Sarajevo. The dark horse came from India today where Linthoi Chanambam outclassed everyone as the biggest surprise of the tournament so far. It became a historic day in Bosnia Herzegovina where India celebrates its first judo world champion. Chanambam was opposed by the Brazilian Bianca Reis, who is more familiar in the circuit.
It was a beautiful opportunity for India to get a gold medal at the world championships, especially after a great semi-final where she executed a perfect o-uchi-gari. The final started very well for Linthoi Chanambam, who scored a really nice waza-ari. A difficult time began though as she had to keep that advantage alive. Despite the incredible pressure she had on her shoulders and a couple of shido later, she could celebrate an historic gold medal for India; the first medal of any colour and in any age category at the world level.
The favourites went out rapidly with Fidan Alizada (AZE), seeded as number one, who was eliminated in the first round. Gaia Stella (ITA), number 2 seed, was eliminated in the second round and so on. In this context, the French judoka Emma Melis saw an open freeway to the final, but that was without counting on the performance of Linthoi Chanambam.
The first contest for a third place on the podium opposed Julia Bulanda (POL) and Savita Russo (ITA). Since the beginning of the competition, we have seen a lot of drop techniques from the sleeves, which can either sometimes score but often get penalised as false attacks.
The match between Bulanda and Russo started with a couple of these and Bulanda was penalised with a shido. After some nice work on the ground, after having extracted her leg, Savita Russo then pinned her opponent for a waza-ari. She then just had to stay in control until the end to enjoy this bronze medal.
Anna Gulite (LAT) and Emma Melis (FRA) qualified for the second match for a bronze medal. Despite being the favourite of this bout, Emma Melis didn’t seem to be in her best form as Anna Gulite dominated her physically but with less than a minute to go, it was Gulite who received the first penalty of the match, followed by one for Melis for a false attack.
Cadets are going for ippon and that is really nice to see. Nevertheless, some cadets and maybe moreover some of their coaches are still not fully accustomed to the rules and some mistakes came from that. In the meantime, the French judoka was penalised a second time as golden score started. A third penalty awarded to Melis offered the bronze medal to Gulite.