Gevrise Emane resists youth surge as Mami Umeki keeps Japan dominating
Veteran Gevrise Emane turned back the clock to win her third world title as a wave of young pretenders led by Japan`s Mami Umeki swept the world judo championships in Kazakhstan on Friday.
Astana: Veteran Gevrise Emane turned back the clock to win her third world title as a wave of young pretenders led by Japan`s Mami Umeki swept the world judo championships in Kazakhstan on Friday.
Emane, 33, gave France their first champion of the competition while Umeki kept Japan well ahead of the rest with the Asians` fifth gold medal.
At just 20 years of age, Umeki is a star of the future and she came through the carnage of a women`s under-78kg category that saw former world champions beaten at an alarming rate.
Brazil`s Mayra Aguiar lasted only two fights in the defence of her crown, as did the 2010 champion Kyla Harrison of the United States.
Twice world champion Audrey Tcheumeo of France made it to the semi-finals but she was beaten by Slovenia`s Anamari Velensek.
Umeki dominated the final with her groundwork and after twice coming close to armlocking Velensek, she pinned the Slovenian to secure victory.
It denied Slovenia a second world champion following Tina Trstenjak`s historic first ever gold for the former Yugoslav republic in Thursday`s under-63kg category.
Germany`s Luise Malzahn beat Tcheumeo for bronze as Marhinde Verkerk of the Netherlands won the other bronze medal.
At the other end of the age spectrum to Umeki, Emane proved she remains a force to be reckoned with at under-70kg ahead of next year`s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
She scored a stunning ippon -- the equivalent to a knock-out in boxing -- after just 14 seconds of the final against Spain`s Maria Bernabeu with a two-sleeved hip throw off her knees (tsuri-komi-goshi).
Having already won this division in 2007, before stepping down to under-63kg and winning the 2011 world title, Cameroon-born Emane is now a three-time world champion as well as four-time European gold medallist.
What`s even more impressive is that Emane had to adapt her category earlier in her career due to the presence of Lucie Decosse, a star of the French team and 2012 Olympic champion.
When Decosse stepped up from under-63kg to under-70kg, Emane had to go the other way in order to keep alive her Olympic dream -- she took bronze in 2012 -- as her rival was the undisputed queen of French judo.
While Decosse added world titles at under-70kg in 2010 and 2011 to her 2005 gold at under-63kg, Emane proved that although she might not have been the best fighter in France, she could nonetheless triumph on the global stage by also becoming a two-weight world champion.
In Astana, the reigning champion Yuri Alvear of Colombia could only manage bronze having lost to Emane in the quarter-finals, while France`s Fanny Estelle Posvite shocked Chizuru Arai of Japan for the other bronze medal.
The final title of the day went to South Korea`s Gwak Dong-han in the men`s under-90kg division.
That too was a surprise as the 23-year-old Asian champion had never before reached such a level on the world stage.
Gwak scored a winning half-point waza-ari with a dropping shoulder throw (seoi-nage) to beat Russia`s Kirill Denisov in the final.
It was the second time Denisov, 27, had lost in the final and his fourth world medal.
Two-time European champion Varlam Liparteliani beat Georgia teammate Beka Gviniashvili for bronze with Japan`s Mashu Baker beating Komronshokh Ustopiriyon of Tajikistan for the other bronze medal.