On the second and final day of action in Baku, it was gold for Italy’s Carolina Costa, Nafisa Sheripboeva from Uzbekistan and Mexico’s Lenia Ruvalcaba Alvarez
Italy’s Carolina Costa needed to summon every ounce of her skill and endurance to win gold after a dramatic final in the +70kg category at the IBSA Judo Grand Prix.
Despite her edge in the ranking, Costa’s opponent Hongyu Wang dominated the early part of the match, using her advantage in height and weight to full effect. Costa last met Wang in Portugal last year, where she was beaten by the Chinese judoka at the World Championships.
But it was a different story this time. Costa survived the early onslaught and as Wang tired, scored an outstanding second waza-ari for ippon in the closing moments of the match to clinch an emotional victory in Baku.
Brazil took both bronze medal places on the podium, with Meg Emmerich beating Nyamaa Altantsetseg from Mongolia and Rebeca Silva from Brazil defeating Azerbaijan’s Dursedef Karimova.
In addition to the top-weight +70kg category, the second day of the Grand Prix saw action in two other women’s weight categories: -63kg and -70kg.
In the -63kg category, Uzbekistan added another gold medal to their growing haul when Nafisa Sheripboeva defeated Russia’s Olga Pozdnysheva. In a fast-paced fight, Sheripboeva scored an early point and held on for victory.
Azerbaijan took the first -63kg bronze medal thanks to Khanim Huseynova, who took just 60 seconds to see off her opponent Duygu Cete Artar. The other bronze went to China’s Yue Wang.
In the final of the -70kg category, 10 seconds was all it took for Mexico’s Lenia Ruvalcaba Alvarez to score a point over Alana Martins from Brazil. The Mexican went on to win gold in under two minutes.
In the contest for bronze, Uzbekistan picked up another medal when Vasila Aliboeva defeated Azerbaijan’s Zulfiyya Huseynova. Olga Zabrodskaia from Russia beat Croatia’s Lucija Breskovic to win the other bronze medal.