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Amandine Buchard takes gold after three silver Masters medals
12 Jan 2021 06:20
At the first day of competition, five categories were at stake, three for women and two for men. Kosovo, France and Japan took a gold medal each for the women and both male gold medals went to Korea. So far 12 countries have had representatives step up on to the podium. France took a medal of each colour and gold for Amandine Buchard U52kg.
Entering the final of U52kg, Amandine Buchard (FRA) showed that she will be one of the favourites for the Olympic title, especially as she did it by defeating the reigning Olympic Champion, the Kosovan Majlinda Kelmendi. Until the Buchard match, Kelmendi had not encountered any difficulty during the preliminary rounds. The confrontations between Buchard and Kelmendi are adding up, since the two young women have met three times before, but for the first time the Frenchwoman wins, after a very long golden score and a decisive penalty; something to add to her confidence.
For the attribution of the gold medal, in her way Buchard found the Japanese judoka Shishime Ai, world champion in 2017 in Budapest and already a winner of the Masters in 2019 in Qingdao. Already three times a Masters finalist but never a gold, would Buchard be able to overcome the run of play? It took several minutes of golden score to get an answer as it was a very balanced match. It ended with a third penalty against the Japanese fighter, finally offering the gold medal to Buchard.
The other Frenchwoman in the category, Astride Gneto, also had a chance to win a medal, as she was opposite the Hungarian Reka Pupp, in the first match for a bronze medal. After five minutes of golden score and a very tight match, Gneto won, as Pupp was disqualified with a last shido. Still Pupp will take back some confidence mingling with the top athletes of her category and reaching a medal fight at this level.
The London 2012 Olympic medalist proved that she was still at the highest level by qualifying for the second bronze medal, against the reigning Olympic champion, Majlinda Kelmendi. It is interesting to note, that the two competitors are of the same generation, one being 29 years old (Kelmendi) and the other 30 years old (Van Snick), yet they each had their Olympic Games, in London for the Belgian and in Rio for the Kosovan. Today facing each other for the bronze medal, therefore, was indicative of two amazing athletes who are still giving everything.
It is certain that for the moment, Majlinda Kelmendi is no longer as dominant as she has been in the past, but there is still a long way to go from here to Tokyo. She is no less a competitor at heart and she controlled Van Snick without too much difficulty to get on the podium.
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