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South Korea joins the growing collection of winners in Chile

12 Aug 2017 02:10

 by Mark Pickering - IJF    IJF Media Team / International Judo Federation

The Cadet World Championships produced a breathless third day as Moldova, Japan, South Korea and Georgia won world gold in Santiago, Chile. In the women’s U57kg South Korea was the winning nation. Kim Juhee ended South Korea’s wait for a medal in Santiago with a convincing victory on Friday.

Kim, Tyumen Cadet Cup winner , who did not concede a single score in five contests, held down 17-year-old EYOF bronze medallist Natalia Kropska (POL) in the U57kg final with a tate-shiho-gatame.  The Polish judoka was physically spent from her titanic battle in the semi-finals while Kim had energy to spare after negotiating her own place in the final in regulation time. Kim received her gold medal from IJF Hall of Famer Ki-Young Jeon and both judoka put their hands on their hearts as the national anthem of South Korea was played for the first time at the Santiago National Stadium.

In the first semi-final Kropska defeated 17-year-old former Berlin Cadet European Cup bronze medallist Nakaya Haruka (JPN) after one of the most remarkable and longest contests in IJF history. After going the distance there was nothing to separate the gold medal hopefuls and their opening four minutes would prove to be just a warm-up. Kropska was feeling the full effects of a long day in regulation time as both judoka wore themselves out ahead of subsequent medal contests. As the clock ticked by in golden score the crowd became more and more involved.

Seconds, then minutes went by, as both judoka summoned every ounce of energy from their shell-shocked bodies and while they tired their minds and will to win kept them moving. All the teams of judoka and coaches and spectators were out of their seats in appreciation for the efforts of the two 17-year-old’s and their applause was the reward they deserved for their commitment. The applause grew louder and louder as the contest passed the 10 minute mark in golden score alone and it was the Polish judoka who ended a compelling contest - that everybody present in Santiago will remember – with a waza-ari score. The final time of the contest was 14 minutes and 56 seconds and the fighting spirit of both was as memorable as it was appreciated by all those fortunate enough to witness the greatest contest of two judoka honestly and earnestly going about their craft on the biggest stage of their careers.

 In the second semi-final 15-year-old Thayane Lemos (BRA) fell to Kim by a waza-ari score from a seoi-nage to guarantee her team their first medal of the competition.

The first bronze medal was won by 16-year-old Cadet European Championships silver medallist Giovanna Fusco (ITA) who saw off Lemos by ippon in golden score. 

The second bronze medal was won by Nakaya who somehow found a way past EYOF silver medallist Marica Perisic (SRB). Nakaya, who was still recovering from her unforgettable semi-final, again went into golden score but grinded out a medal with a drop seoi-nage for a waza-ari after three minutes of added time. 

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  • Natalia Kropska (POL), Giovanna Fusco (ITA), Haruka Nakaya (JPN), Juhee Kim (KOR) - Cadet World Championships Santiago de Chile (2017, CHI) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation
  • Natalia Kropska (POL) - Cadet World Championships Santiago de Chile (2017, CHI) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation
  • Cadet World Championships Santiago de Chile (2017, CHI) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation

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