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Italian lightweight Francesca Milani enters Olympic Qualification

Italian lightweight Francesca Milani enters Olympic Qualification

1 Apr 2021 18:30
IJF Media Department
IJF Emanuele Di Feliciantonio / International Judo Federation

Italian female lightweights have never been successful at the Olympic Games. Francesca Milani wants to change the history. At the first day of the Grand Slam in Antalya she made a statement to win the gold medal and she made a good step to qualify for the Games.

In general the world ranking has real meaning. In other words, to be well ranked is a pledge to appear in a good place at the end of the competition. However, it was a completely new and original final which we attended, since the two Italians, Francesca Milani (ITA) and Francesca Giorda (ITA), respectively 34th and 37th in the world, qualified to compete for the gold medal. Beyond the medal though, the two Transalpine athletes carry out here a very interesting operation with the 1,000 points which go to the gold medal winner and the 700 for silver. It is a clear, solid operation on its own terms but it also relaunches competition between the two for the one and only Olympic place. We note here that Milani seems to have found a period of consistency, having won her first ever grand slam medal last week in Tbilisi. That’s two finals in two weeks and is not to be ignored.

In the final, Milani took advantage over her teammate, as the latter was penalised three times and she steps concretely into Olympic qualification.

The Italian performance obscures the competition day of Olympic champion Paula Pareto (ARG), seeded number one but eliminated by Milani in the quarter-finals. Overcoming her disappointment at not reaching the final, Pareto nevertheless qualified for the bronze medal contest against Turkey's Gulkader Senturk who last medalled with a bronze obtained in Zagreb in 2019. It was the Turkish judoka who played the right strategy and was overjoyed to take today’s bronze. This puts her in contention for Olympic selection.

Another favourite of the competition, Shira Rishony (ISR), also failed to reach the final and had to be content with the possibility of a bronze against Anastasia Pavlenko (RUS). With some lightning fast transition phases and a threat to Rishony’s arm, it looked like a precarious position to be in but the Israeli stepped up the pace further and threw for waza-ari just into the last half minute of contest time and it was enough to secure the medal and the points. Rishony is edging towards top 8 seeding and it seems to be what she’s hunting for, for the Olympic Games.

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