The incredible momentum of the World Judo Championships continued on day three in Tashkent.
The International Judo Federation’s flagship event in the capital of Uzbekistan was a hive of activity, with locals and fans excitedly awaiting what promised to be another phenomenal day of Judo.
Silva wins again, nine years on
In the <57kg contest, Rafaela Silva, Brazil’s 2016 Olympic and 2013 World Champion, was on fire all day, despatching, Bulgaria’s Ivelina Ilieva and Israel’s Nelson Levy on the way to the final.
Here she faced Funakubo Haruka -- whose typically Japanese domination on the floor earnt her spot in the final.
But it was Silva's mastery of Uchi-mata -- one of the original Judo throws -- which won her the world title. Nine years on from her previous triumph, the raw emotion was there to see.
Kit McConnell, the International Olympic Committee Sports Director, awarded the medals.
"When I was hugging my coach," Silva said afterwards. "I actually couldn’t believe that I had become World Champion again. And she was saying to me ‘You did it, it’s real, this moment is real! You did it again."
Mongolia’s first World title since 2017
Japanese star Hashimoto Soichi looked in form for the <73kg category. The 2017 World Champion defeated Georgian legend and reigning World Champion Lasha Shavdatuashvili on the way to the final, cheered on by his family.
There he met Mongolia’s Olympic Bronze Medallist Tsogtbaatar Tsend-Ochir, a move against Canada’s Arthur Margelidon the highlight of his path to the final.
A lightning-fast counter saw Tsend-Ochir win Mongolia’s first World title since 2017. After the first edition of the Ulaanbaatar Grand Slam in June, this has been a fantastic year for Mongolian Judo.
Max-Hervé George, Ultima Group CEO, awarded the medals and the former President of Mongolia, and the President of the Mongolian Judo Association, His Excellency Battulga Kaltmaa, awarded his fellow countrymen the prize money.
"Today, I woke up to be number one," Tsend-Ochir said. "I came here today to be the World Champion and I did it."
There was phenomenal Judo on display from the local Uzbek team, and on each day the crowd has been elated to see their heroes in action. Tomorrow they have some more medal hopefuls a day not to be missed!