Budapest in Hungary and the world’s best Judoka prepared for day two of the World Championships as the limited but lively Hungarian crowd looked on.
Shishime Ai of Japan, defeated their only medal hopeful of the day, Pupp Reka, as she set up a final with Spain’s Anna Perez Box, who produced a fine dropping shoulder throw in her semi-final contest.
Moving into the last minute of the gold medal round Shishime seized control, scoring Waza-ari with Uchi-mata, before showing fantastic control on the ground to secure a pin and regain the world title which she last won in the same stadium four years ago.
She was presented her gold medal by Ion Tiriac, International Judo Federation Ambassador and tennis legend.
“I won my last title in Budapest, so I am very happy to come back here and win the gold medal again, I feel something special here,” Shishime said after her victory.
Another good day for Japan
The finalists of the -66kg division were on fire.
Maruyama Joshiro of Japan and Italy’s Manuel Lombardo blitzed their way to the gold medal contest withstanding the pressure on their shoulders of being top seeds in the category.
But it would be Maruyama who ended up on top, defending his world title by cleverly luring his opponent into Tomoe-nage attack which resulted in a Waza ari score.
It was a match that showcased judo’s unique appeal, as a contest of the utmost physicality ended with friendship on display as the finalists embraced after the match.
Maruyama was presented his medal by Aleksander Karelin, Greco-Roman wrestling legend and three-time Olympic and nine-time World Champion
“I would say I always feel some pressure, but I have to deal with it,” said Maruyama, “one of the most important things today was how I could overcome that nervousness and then beat all of my opponents.”
It was the icing on the cake of a sensational day of jaw-dropping judo in Budapest.