Europe’s judoka started strongly into the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games winning seven out of 12 medals as the judo competition opened Sunday, August 17, in Nanjing.
In the women’s U44 kg weight category, the first athlete qualified for the final was Melisa Cakmakli (TUR), who earlier this year obtained a gold medal at the European Cup Cadets in Pitesti. She was opposed to Leyla Aliyeva of Azerbaijan, silver medallist at the 2013 Cadets World Championships in Miami. The four minutes of the full regular time did not give the possibility for either of the two fighters to take the advantage. Thus Cakmakli and Aliyeva entered the Golden Score. After one minute, the Turkish missed a big chance to win the gold with a strong counterattack (ura-nage) for no score. This was followed by a powerful shoulder movement from Aliyeva, also for no score. At the end of the suspense, and after more than three minutes of golden score, Cakmakli was able to finally explode with joy when her opponent received a last shido for passivity, synonymous of gold medal for the Turk.
The first final of the day opposed two Cadet World Champions from Miami 2013, Bauyrzhan Zhauyntayev from Kazakhstan and Natig Gurbanli from Azerbaijan, respectively crowned in -55 kg and -50 kg. After one minute, both fighters had already shown their incredible skills at their young age, Zhauyntayev escaping from a powerful attack by Gurbanli, before being really close to scoring and taking the advantage. A little bit less active than his opponent, Gurbanli was penalized with a shido, but it was then Zhauyntayev's turn to be penalized. This probably gave him the energy to score yuko with a quick shoulder movement just three seconds before the end of the final, giving him the first gold medal of the judo tournament in Nanjing.
The last final of the day opposed two silver medalists from last year’s World Championships in Miami, Bogdan Iadov (UKR) and ABE Hifumi (JPN), respectively in -60 kg and -66 kg categories. Unstoppable all day long, the Japanese fighter, once again was the first to score waza-ari with an aerial technic (sode-tsuri-komi-goshi), that Iadov did not see coming, followed one minute later by another incredible attack by the Japanese with a shoulder movement for a second waza-ari that immediately ended the fight. After having shown so much skill today, Abe should be carefully followed in the upcoming years. This might not be his last major title.