Written by Jo Crowley on 25 Aug 2023


At -57 kg Maria Silveira (POR) has had an incredible year, winning gold in Fuengirola, Teplice, Coimbra and at the Europeans in June. At EYOF she fell but not far, settling for bronze.


In Zagreb Silveira began well, applying her usual pace and style to to knock Golubic (CRO) and Allaberganova (UZB) out completely. In the quarter-final she met totally unknown Japanese opposition in the form of Riko Honda. Honda completely turned the tables on the Portuguese athlete and out-paced her, eventually winning on penalties.

Honda (JPN) turned the tables on Silveira (POR)

Silveira made light work of Cancela (USA) in the repechage to jump into the bronze fight against Zholdosheva (KGZ), a competitor whom had sprung from nowhere to pass her Turkish, French and Uzbek opposition before losing a close and tense semi-final against Lin of Taipei.

Aralbaeva (UZB) is consoled by Zholdosheva (KGZ)

Silveira continued to dominate, determined to show she would not accept leaving Zagreb without a medal. She threw Zholosheva (KGZ) immediately after ‘hajime’ and held her down for the second waza-ari. The first bronze of the day went to Portugal.

A medal-winning throw from Silveira (POR)

The second medal contest was fought between number 4 in the world Aralbaeva (UZB) and number 7 in the world Zakroisky (ISR). The Uzbek took an early lead and then changed nothing in her energy, direction or pace, allowing the Israeli no space at all to build her own offence. However, perhaps due to high confidence, Aralbaeva made mistakes, two of them, both capitalised on by the Israeli who countered once and then again for two scores and a bronze medal. It was a win against the tide and showed how important it is to fight until the last second, no score is insurmountable.

A bronze for Israel

The final between Honda and Lin began with the Japanese dominating the sleeve and with just over a minute gone she attacked with a strong o-uchi-gari and scored ippon. The first gold of the day was Japan’s.

O-uchi-gari for the win

Final (-57 kg)
HONDA Riko (JPN) vs LIN Yu-Han (TPE)

Bronze Medal Fights (-57 kg)

Medals, cheques and gifts presented by the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Croatia Dr Marijo Banozic and Event Director of the Zagreb World Championships Cadets Ms Ana Krauthacker

Final Results (-57 kg)
1. HONDA Riko (JPN)
2. LIN Yu-Han (TPE)
5. ARALBAEVA Aselkhan (UZB)
7. CANCELA Nicole (USA)
7. CAPEZZUTO Martina (ITA)

The -57 kg podium

At -63 kg Emily Jaspe (USA) has competed in cadet, junior and senior events all over the world this year and is ranked number two in the world at cadets and number 4 at juniors. She’s formidable opposition for anyone in the category and she proved it by steamrolling over them all until she reached the quarter-final. There stood Yuri Shimizu of Japan, another unseeded unknown quantity.

Emily Jaspe (USA) in action

Shimizu is an uchi-mata specialist but has struggled to make it score in Zagreb, winning in the early rounds by penalties before throwing Jaspe and scoring at last with her favourite technique. In the semi-final she made it work again to push Darkhanbatbayar (MGL) into a bronze medal contest.

Darkhanbatbayar (MGL) loses out to Shimizu (JPN)

On the bottom half of the draw, Choco (COL) was the favourite but she couldn’t make it to the final block, beaten by Kuchar (LTU) in round 3. Impressively, Kuchar then also beat Carpio Fernandez (ESP), the 7th seed, having no notable ranking herself. She lost to Camara (BRA) in the semi-final but found her winning ways again in the bronze medal contest, throwing and holding Emily Jaspe for the maximum score and the medal. The Lithuanian looked shocked by her achievement but that shock soon became joy.

Kuchar (LTU) throws for a world bronze medal

Saparboeva of Uzbekistan had also had a great day until meeting the Brazilian in the quarter-final. She then beat the Spanish judoka in the repechage before going into battle against the Mongolian for bronze.

Saparboeva (UZB) vs Darkhanbatbayar (MGL)

In the all-Asian podium decider, it was the Uzbek who chose to give the most and she attacked more, attacked better and followed every action to its end. She won the medal and can go home a world medallist for the first time.

A medal for Uzbekistan

The final between Shimizu and Camara, Brazil and Japan being traditional rivals for decades on the elite circuit, was a close, nail-biting affair, the Brazilian making herself felt in ne-waza while the biggest tachi-waza moments were Japanese. Her uchi-mata and osoto-gari attacks looked to be getting stronger and stronger and more difficult for Camara to defend. At half-time one did trip the Brazilian, after a change of grip to a makikomi style gave Shimuzu the edge.

Shimizu (JPN) beats Camara (BRA) for gold

From that point on Camara had no choice but to come forward and that gave Shimizu the momentum to drop under with a very low tai-otoshi for ippon. Today the golds in both women’s categories go to Japan. Brazil and Taipei earn silvers.

Final (-63 kg)

Bronze Medal Fights (-63 kg)
JASPE Emily Daniela (USA) vs KUCHAR Varvara (LTU)

Medals, cheques and gifts presented by IJF Secretary General Dr Lisa Allan and Member of the Board of the Croatian Lottery Ms Nikolina Klaic

Final Results (-63 kg)
2. CAMARA Sophia (BRA)
3. KUCHAR Varvara (LTU)
5. JASPE Emily Daniela (USA)

The -63 kg medallists