After two days without any players at the top of the rostrum, the -63kg competition was the best chance for the host country to win its first gold medal.
France’s Gévrise Emane, a former World champion and the No. 2 seed in the IJF world rankings, was expected to meet her rival, Japan’s Yoshie Ueno, a double World and Olympic champion and the No. 1 seed. And so it was.
Ueno faced 4th-seeded Urska Zolnir of Slovenia in her semi-final match which went into overtime. Zolnir, who had earlier been more aggressive seemed to run out of steam during Golden Score and was eventually pinned for an ippon.
Emane also had a tough semi-final match, squaring up against Holland’s 3rd-seeded Elisabeth Willaboordse. Both played a tactical match until Emane dropped down low to score yuko with sode-tsuri-komi-goshi.
Bronze Medal Matches
It was Holland vs Holland contending for one of the bronze medals with Willaboordse going up against her team-mate, 8th-seeded Anicka van Emden. Although Willaboordse was the favorite, it was van Emden who scored twice with ouchi-gari for yuko to win the bronze medal.
The other bronze medal was won by Slovenia’s Zolnir who smashed Cuba’s Maricet Espinosa with a massive te-guruma for ippon after the Cuban adopted a cross guard grip (which allowed Zolnir to attack her legs).
The final between Japan’s Ueno and France’s Emane had the French crowd in a frenzy but it was a largely uneventful contest with both fighters playing it safe. Ueno launched several unconvincing drop attacks while Emane also dropped down several times with her low sode-tsuri-komi-goshi.
During Golden Score, Ueno received a shido for passivity after which she became more aggressive. The French player played it smart and made safe, tactical attacks to avoid getting a similar penalty. At the end of the Golden Score, all three judges awarded the match to Emane, giving the French something to really celebrate about.
UENO, Yoshie (JPN) vs. EMANE, Gevrise (FRA)
UENO, Yoshie (JPN) vs. ZOLNIR, Urska (SLO)
EMANE, Gevrise (FRA) vs. WILLEBOORDSE, Elisabeth (NED)
Bronze Medal Fights
VAN EMDEN, Anicka (NED) vs. WILLEBOORDSE, Elisabeth (NED)
ESPINOSA, Maricet (CUB) vs. ZOLNIR, Urska (SLO)
VAN EMDEN, Anicka (NED) vs. XU, Yuhua (CHN)
ESPINOSA, Maricet (CUB) vs. DREXLER, Hilde (AUT)
1. EMANE, Gevrise (FRA)
2. UENO, Yoshie (JPN)
3. VAN EMDEN, Anicka (NED)
3. ZOLNIR, Urska (SLO)
5. WILLEBOORDSE, Elisabeth (NED)
5. ESPINOSA, Maricet (CUB)
7. XU, Yuhua (CHN)
7. DREXLER, Hilde (AUT)