Kosovo’s Distria Krasniqi utilised her experience at senior level to full effect as the 19-year-old dominated the under 52 kilogram event at the International Judo Federation (IJF) Junior World Championships in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Krasniqi, who won gold at the Samsun Grand Prix earlier this year, cruised through the opening rounds of the competition to set up a semi-final against Croatia’s Tihea Topolovec.
The Kosovan was able to claim an ippon victory and was then able to repeat the feat inside the opening half of the four minute gold medal bout with Georgia’s Mariam Janashvili to claim the division’s title.
“It means so much to me to be on top of the podium for my country and to hear our anthem," Krasniqi said afterwards.
"I came here with the goal of winning and I’m very happy.
"Everything went well in the preparation and now I will concentrate on senior competitions with the goal of repeating this world title as a senior.”
Topolovec was unable to bounce back from her semi-final defeat as the Croatian was beaten by another ippon in her bronze medal clash with Portugal’s Mariana Esteves, who had come through the repecharge, while France’s Astride Gneto defeated Britain’s Chelsie Giles by the same manner to earn a podium place.
The opening day of competition had seen Japan claim two of the four gold medals on offer and it was déjà vu today, with Haruka Funakubo and Masaya Asari finishing on top of the podium in their respective divisions.
An ippon proved the difference between Funakubo and Romania’s Stefania Adelina Dobre in their gold medal clash in the women’s under 57kg competition, with Slovenia’s Andreja Leski and France’s Sarah Harachi triumphing in their respective bronze medal bouts against Germany’s Theresa Stoll and Kazakhstan’s Aigerim Abilkadirova.
Meanwhile Asari took an early lead in his men’s under 66kg gold medal bout with Spain’s Alberto Gaitero Martin through a yuko, and the Japanese judoka sealed the victory by achieving an ippon in the dying seconds.
Brazil’s Daniel Cargnin, whose pursuit of gold was ended by Asari in the quarter-final, claimed bronze after scoring with a waza-ari, yuko and finally an ippon to beat Iran’s Mehdi Fathipoorardal.
He was joined on the third step of the podium by Azerbaijan’s Hidayet Heydarov after he earned an ippon victory over Colombia’s Juan Tello.
The final title of the day was earned by South Korea’s Heoncheol Kang as he edged a closely fought men’s under 77kg final with Georgia’s Tamazi Kirakozashvili, having picked up less shido penalties by the conclusion of the bout.
Slovenian and Brazilian judoka were once again among the podium finishers with Marin Hojak earning bronze for the European nation after beating Kazakhstan’s Didar Khamza via an ippon, while Lincoln Neves ensured another medal would be heading back to South America after ending his contest with Azerbaijan’s Huseyn Rahimli early.
To watch the latest action on Judo TV click here.
October 2015: Double gold for Japan on opening day of IJF Junior World Championships
October 2015: Rising star Tsogtbaatar aiming for gold on opening day of IJF Junior World Championships