She was Cadet world champion in Kazakhstan in 2019 and bronze medallist at the last European Junior Championships in Luxembourg, Ai Tsunoda Roustant (ESP) is already an accomplished junior. At the Junior World in Olbia on Friday the Spanish super talent does it again and claimed the world title at senior level. She also already won a bronze medal in a Grand Prix on the World Judo Tour. It was 27 years ago since Spain had a women's junior world champion in Ursula Martin.
Today Tsunoda was ready to add one important line to her prize list, as she entered the final of the -70kg category against Croatian Lara Cvjetko (CRO), who was ready to follow in the footsteps of her illustrious teammate Barbara Matic, senior world champion last June in Budapest.
Being less active than Tsunoda Roustant, the Croatian competitor was penalised a first time with a shido for passivity. Unsuccessful until the last minute and a half, Tsunoda Roustant launched her own version of a reversed tsuri-komi-goshi and this time scored a waza-ari. Very confident in her capacity to control the rest of the final, Ai Tsunoda Roustant won already the second world title of her young career in pure and humble style.
Ai Tsunoda Roustant said, "Yes I have won and yes I’m very happy but I made too many mistakes today; I felt them too many times. I need to solve that problem but I hope it also means that I can still progress."
The first bronze medal contest saw Luana Carvalho (BRA) and Friederike Stolze (GER) competing for a medal. The alert was red when Luana Carvalho almost caught Friederike Stolze at the beginning of the match but the German competitor escaped but not the second time it happened and that’s how Carvalho secured a perfect turn-over to apply a sankaku-jime, transformed into an immobilisation for ippon and the bronze medal.
Katarzyna Sobierajska (POL) and Nataliia Chystiakova Nataliia (UKR) competed for the second bronze medal. After a long sequence of observation with no score, the first one to add one waza-ari to her name was Sobierajska. It was a score that she kept alive until the final gong, to win bronze.
It is certain that the competitors involved in Olbia will be keen to prove that they have the makings of world and Olympic heroes. This promises generational clashes of the most beautiful kind from next week, during the Grand Slam in Paris.