Glasgow, July 26, 2014: Commonwealth Games, The Commonwealth Games crowned four judo champions on day two at the SECC Hall as England took command in Scotland.
The Scottish crowd and millions watching around the world saw the high-quality action continue on Friday as the women’s -63kg and -70kg categories and men’s -73kg and -81kg categories were contested.
After two days of competition England are the runaway leaders having tightened their grip on top spot by winning three of the four gold medals on offer.
Aside from the winners there was also success for Zambia and Cameroon who have their judoka to thank for winning their country’s first medals of the Games as Boas MUNYONGA (ZAM) won -81kg bronze and Helene WEZEU DOMBEU (CMR) took -63kg silver.
Botswana also had a moment to remember as their teenage judoka Memory ZIKHALE (BOT) entered the history books as her country’s first judoka to compete at a Commonwealth Games.
On Saturday, the final day of the judo competition, the competing nations will be vying for the remaining five gold medals as the the -90kg, -100kg and +100kg men will be joined in action by the leading -78kg and +78kg women.
Team Scotland flagbearer Euan BURTON (SCO) will be in -100kg action while his wife and London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Gemma GIBBONS (ENG) competes in the -78kg category for England.
Rio 2016 hopeful Natalie POWELL (WAL) will aim to win Wales’ first medal of the competition in the -78kg category which will also feature long-time IJF World Judo Tour competitor Jina Devi CHONGTHAM (IND).
In the -90kg category fans will be looking forward to seeing Apia Oceania Open winner Mark ANTHONY (AUS) who famously upset Georgian kingpin Varlam LIPARTELIANI at the London 2012 Olympics while in the same category Buenos Aires Pan American Open gold medallist Matthew PURSSEY (SCO) will be hoping the help the hosts end with a flourish on day three.
-63kg: Scot CLARK crowned champion in Glasgow farewell
Former European champion Sarah CLARK (SCO) ended her competitive judo career in ideal fashion as she defeated Port Louis African Open bronze medallist Helene WEZEU DOMBEU (CMR) to win Commonwealth gold 12 years after taking silver in Manchester. The 36-year-old Scottish stalwart executed a beautiful turnover as she prised open her Cameroon opponent – who has been training extensively in Paris – and locked on the juji-gatame to send the sell-out crowd into raptures. WEZEU DOMBEU may have lost in the final but she won the admiration of the fans and won her country’s first medal in the Commonwealth Games.
In the first semi-final WEZEU DOMBEU bested Canadian Championships winner Beatrice VALOIS FORTIER (CAN) by a waza-ari in a notable result which guaranteed her Cameroon’s first judo medal in Glasgow. In the second semi-final CLARK held down Sarajevo European Cup winner Katharina HAECKER (AUS) with a yoko-shiho-gatame for ippon.
The first bronze medal was won by former Cadet European champion YEATS-BROWN, 19, who defeated VALOIS-FORTIER, 20, the younger sister of Olympic bronze medallist Antoine VALOIS-FORTIER. YEATS-BROWN (ENG), who only had 48 hours’ notice that she would be competing as a late replacement for the injured Caroline KINNANE, held down her Canadian rival for ippon to win the most significant medal of her career and on the biggest stage. The second bronze medal was also claimed by in-form England as Riejka Grand Prix winner Faith PITMAN (ENG) downed HAECKER by a waza-ari score on the edge of the mat from countering an ouchi-gari attack by turning Australian over onto her back with her upper body strength.
1. CLARK, Sarah (SCO)
2. WEZEU DOMBEU, Helene (CMR)
3. YEATS-BROWN, Katie-Jemima (ENG)
3. PITMAN, Faith (ENG)
5. VALOIS FORTIER, Beatrice (CAN)
5. HAECKER, Katharina (AUS)
7. CHOUDHARY, Garima (IND)
7. BEZZINA, Marcon (MLT)
-70kg: FLETCHER fuels rampant England
Madrid European Open bronze medallist Megan FLETCHER (ENG) continued England’s gold medal rampage as she defeated Sindelfingen European Cup bronze medallist Moira DE VILLIERS (NZL) to win the -70kg title. FLETCHER earned Commonwealth Games gold by pinning her opponent with a tate-shiho-gatame for 20 seconds for ippon as the jubilant champion made her way off the tatami to hug her teammates and acknowledge their contribution to her success.
In the first semi-final DE VILLIERS defeated Oceania Championships runner-up Catherine ARSCOTT (AUS) to seal a place in the final with two shido penalties against the latter while Kiwi DE VILLIERS posted an unblemished record. In the second semi-final the expected battle of Britain between world number five Sally CONWAY (ENG) and Megan FLETCHER (ENG) was an absorbing spectacle. Gold medal favourite CONWAY, who led with a yuko from a tomoe-nage, conceded the same score and the contest went into golden score where Englishwoman FLETCHER countered an uchi-mata effort to roll her opponent over for a match-winning yuko.
The first bronze medal was claimed by Canadian Championships silver medallist Alix RENAUD-ROY (CAN) in 71 seconds as she trapped ARSCOTT in a kesa-gatame for 20 seconds. The result is the most significant accomplishment in the young career of the 21-year-old Canadian and was Team Canada’s first judo medal of the Games after three fifth-place finishes. The second bronze medal contest was won by CONWAY who took a cautious approach after her semi-final defeat and because of the ability of her talented opponent in Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Sunibala HUIDROM (IND). CONWAY, who will compete at August’s World Championships in Chelyabinsk, Russia, defeated the Indian fighter, who is part of a very competitive 14-strong team, on shido penalties as HUIDROM received three for passivity while CONWAY was not penalised during the four minute contest.
The -70kg category also saw Botswana enter unchartered territory as they were represented by a judoka at the Commonwealth Games for the first time. That honour for Botswana went to 17-year-old Cadet African Championships bronze medallist Memory ZIKHALE (BOT) who cherished the experience and occasion as she made her country proud by gracing the tatami in Scotland. ZIKHALE is expected to continue her ascension by competing at October’s Junior World Championships in Miami, USA.
1. Megan FLETCHER (ENG)
2. DE VILLIERS, Moira (NZL)
3. RENAUD-ROY, Alix (CAN)
3. CONWAY, Sally (SCO)
5. ARSCOTT, Catherine (AUS)
5. HUIDROM, Sunibala (IND)
7. COLLINS, Sara (AUS)
7. BURGESS, Monika (CAN)
-73kg: Late replacement WILLIAMS wins it for England
London 2012 Olympian Danny WILLIAMS (ENG) proved to be an inspired selection for England as the late injury replacement defeated Oceania Championships bronze medallist Adrian LEAT (NZL) to win the -73kg title. WILLIAMS, who was called up in place of the injured Ben FLETCHER, won the best medal of his career against the tricky New Zealand judoka. The Englishman, who managed to slip off an uchi-mata from LEAT, scored a waza-ari after 35 seconds as his opponent failed to trouble the scoreboard.
In the first semi-final WILLIAMS grafted his way to victory as national champion Jake BENSTED (AUS) received a shido for a false attack in a scoreless contest while the Englishman stalked his opponent on the tatami and shut down every move from the Australian. In the second semi-final LEAT triumphed against Jacques VAN ZYL (RSA), the youngest South African to win Africa Championships gold. The eye-catching Kiwi took the lead with a waza-ari and that gave him the lift to go on and pursue a further score. LEAT wrapped up the win with a stylish sumi-gaeshi for ippon after teasing a uchi-mata.
The first bronze medal was clinched by BENSTED who silenced the home crowd as he threw Sofia European Open winner Patrick DAWSON (SCO) for the maximum score after 20 seconds with ippon seoi-nage. The second bronze medal was won by VAN ZYL who trapped Port Louis African Open bronze medallist Eoin FLEMING (NIR) with osaekomi-waza for 20 seconds and ippon.
1. WILLIAMS, Danny (ENG)
2. LEAT, Adrian (NZL)
3. BENSTED, Jake (AUS)
3. VAN ZYL, Jacques (RSA)
5. DAWSON, Patrick (SCO)
5. FLEMING, Eoin (NIR)
7. NARTEY, Emmanuel (GHA)
7. GANZO, James Mashobo (KEN)
-81kg: LIVESEY defeats REED in all-English final
London European Cup bronze medallist Owen LIVESEY (ENG) conquered teammate and Miami Grand Prix winner Tom REED (ENG) to clinch the -81kg title in Glasgow. Former rugby league player LIVESEY – who has two younger sisters on the British team – and REED anticipated each other’s every move and that led to a tight contest where the English colleagues were only separated on shido penalties. REED, whose best attacks were from uchi-mata, was penalised three times for not taking a grip and going out of the area twice while LIVESEY was held accountable for passivity on two occasions.
In the first semi-final the vastly-experienced REED defeated Cadet world champion Louis KRIEBER-GAGNON (CAN). After a long battle to for a juji-gatame, which at one point saw REED sit through for osaekomi for six seconds, he eventually broke the spirited teenagers resistance by freeing the arm and submitting him. In the second semi-final LIVESEY powered his way past Canadian Championships silver medallist Jonah BURT with a beautiful uchi-mata earning ippon after 24 seconds.
The first bronze medal contest was a battle of youth versus experience and experience won as 33-year-old veteran Boas MUNYONGA (ZAM) defeated 18-year-old KRIEBER-GAGNON. The Zambian scored a waza-ari from a ippon seoi-nage before adding the same score from a 15 second pin to win his country’s first medal of the Commonwealth Games. The second bronze medal was captured by 19-year-old BURT who defeated teenager Robert NICOLA (CYP) by ippon from a pinpoint osoto-gari.
1. LIVESEY, Owen (ENG)
2. REED, Tom (ENG)
3. MUNYONGA, Boas (ZAM)
3. BURT, Jonah (CAN)
5. KRIEBER-GAGNON, Louis (CAN)
5. NICOLA, Robert (CYP)
7. MESSI, Louis (CMR)
7. BREWER, Mark (NZL). —- Photos © IJF Media Team – Jack Wilingham