#Warwick2021: Ruvalcaba v Maldonado – The latest chapter
Date: June 20, 2021
The latest chapter in one of judo’s greatest rivalries was written at the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Judo Grand Prix in Warwick, Great Britain, on Sunday (20 June).
Paralympic champion Lenia Ruvalcaba of Mexico and Brazilian world title holder Alana Maldonado faced off once again in the women’s up to 70kg to give fans a taste of the action to come at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Maldonado had the advantage, coming in to the bout the freshest. Ruvalcaba had endured a gruelling 3.5 minutes of Golden Score in the semi-finals against Vasila Aliboeva which only ended when the Uzbek was taken injured.
Both Ruvalcaba and Maldonado had their chances over normal time in the final but neither could land a point. As the clocked ticked into Golden Score, it was the Brazilian that had more energy. However unfortunately for Maldonado, Ruvalcaba managed to dig really deep and grabbed the deciding point.
The win clearly meant a huge amount to the Mexican after missing out on the podium at the Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan, last month. Ruvalcaba collapsed in tears into the arms of her coach at the side of the mat.
Georgia’s 2021 debutant Ina Kaldani grabbed her second consecutive Grand Prix medal of the year with bronze. Aliboeva recovered enough from her earlier injury to round off the medallists.
Italy’s Worlds bronze medallist Carolina Costa forced Brazil’s Meg Emmerich into a mistake in the women’s over 70kg. After Costa registered a point, a few moments later Emmerich tried to turn-in but lost her footing and landed on her back. Costa obliged, making sure of the ippon with eight seconds left on the clock.
Brazil’s Rebeca Silva and Ukraine’s Anastasiia Harynk took bronze.
Ukraine’s World Championships silver medallist Iryna Husieva executed a huge ippon to claim gold in the women’s up to 63kg against Uzbekistan’s Nafisa Sheripboeva.
Relative newcomer Liana Mutia showed once again why she could challenge for the podium at Tokyo 2020, winning her first Grand Prix medal with bronze. That followed on from her fifth place finish from Baku last month and her Pan-American title on her regional debut in 2020. In Warwick Mutia faced Sweden’s European medallist Nicolina Pernheim, beating her by ippon.
Spain’s Marta Arce Payno completed the podium.
France’s Helios Latchoumanaya enjoyed a great day on the mat in the men’s up to 90kg, showing great form with just over two months until the Paralympics. He overcame Kazakhstan’s Zhanbota Amanzhol, himself buoyant having beaten Ukraine’s world champion Oleksandr Nazarenko earlier in the competition.
Nazarenko did however get a consolation bronze, beating Uzbekistan’s Shukhrat Boboev.
There was an all-British face off against Cameron Bradley and Elliot Stewart for bronze. A tough fight ended with Worlds bronze medallist Stewart taking the podium spot and the pair sharing a hug, laugh and a joke.
Georgia’s Revaz Chikoidze forced Cuba’s Rio 2016 bronze medallist Yordani Fernandez Sastre to tap out in the final of the men’s over 100kg.
Having lost out to Fernandez Sastre in the semi-final, South Korea’s Gwang Geun Choi – the Paralympic champion from the up to 100kg – secured bronze. Brazil’s Wilians Araujo ground out a win against Jack Hodgson to take the other podium spot.
Azerbaijan’s Kanan Abdullakhanli overcame Uzbekistan’s Sulaymon Alaev for gold in the men’s up to 100kg.
Great Britain’s Worlds bronze medallist Chris Skelley came back from disappointment earlier on in the day to claim bronze with an impressive throw against Alaev’s teammate Sharif Khalilov. Germany’s Oliver Upmann secured the other bronze.
South Korean world champion Jung Ming Lee did not get to face Paralympic title holder Eduardo Avila Sanchez in the final of the men’s up to 81kg. Lee took the gold by default after Avila Sanchez withdrew due to injury.
The situation was the same in one of the bronze medal matches as Great Britain’s Daniel Powell was also injured, handing Kazakhstan’s Galymzhan Smagululy the win. Ukraine’s Dmytro Solovey did however get to fight Cuba’s Gerardo Rodriguez Reyes for the other bronze, winning by ippon.
The 2021 IBSA Judo Grand Prix in Warwick ran from 19-20 June. It was the last chance for judoka to grab world ranking points and qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.