Doha, 12 January 2021 - Amandine Buchard was returning to competition after an injury break at the IJF Doha Masters judo tournament. It was supposed to be “a reference match” for her, something that would have helped the Frenchwoman assess her in-competition position ahead of the Olympics in Tokyo this year.
But the 25-year-old went one better as she won the gold on the opening day of the championship, which kicked off at the Lusail Multipurpose Hall. Buchard was satisfied with her performance after defeating former world champion Ai Shishime of Japan in the final of the under 52kg category.
“This was a reference match for me ahead of the Olympic Games. I was coming after an injury break and it’s been a difficult period after coronavirus, but this is a new year and new experience and I’m happy to start it off on a positive note,” Buchard said.
This is Buchard’s first success since her victory at the Grand Slam in Budapest in October 2020. She then had to withdraw from the European Championships in November due to a rib injury. It was a very tough match which ended with a third penalty against the Japanese fighter and first Master gold for the Frenchwoman after fourth finals. “Physically, it was a difficult match. So I did a very tactical fight in the final. I kept attacking hard and that helped me take the win,” she said.
The bronze medals in the under 52kg category went to another Frenchwoman – Astride Gneto and Elemendi Majlinda of Gerogia.
In the women’s -48kg, Distria Krasniqui of Kosovo defeated Funa Tonaki of Japan in the final. Arriving in Doha with the world number one bib, Kosovan judoka Krasniqi, already a winner of the Masters in 2019, had additional pressure on her shoulders. However, this did not prevent her from reaching the final after a flawless run against Stangar Marusa of Slovania, Costa Catarina of Portugal and Clement Melanie of France, winning two of her confrontations by ippon.
In the final, in less than a minute, Krasniqi had taken the measure of her opponent and had scored a first waza-ari with uchi-mata. Well installed, with a strong right hand on the back, the Kosovan mastered her subject perfectly and less than a minute later she scored a second waza-ari with a ko-soto-gake, allowing her to win her third gold medal at the Masters.
Former world champion Tuskasa Yoshida of Japan defeated Sarah Leonie Cysique of France in the -57kg category final.
In the men’s -60kg, Jin Won Kim of Korea overcame Yang Yung Wei of Chines Taipei in the final. In a tough final, Kim succeeded in throwing Yang on his back for a magnificent ippon via counterattack.
The 2015 world champion An Baul of Korea won the -66kg gold defeating Baruch Shmailov of Israel. The final was once again a close fight in which neither of the finalists seemed able to exploit the slightest flaw in their opponent’s defence. After a long period of golden score and two penalties on each side, it was finally Baul who used his experience and succeeded in throwing Shmailov using a dropping eri-seoi-nage. The Doha Masters awards 1,800 points in the World Ranking List to the winners of each category.