Italy welcomed its sixth ever Junior World Champion ever, Giulia Carna, who is also the youngest ever for Italy and obviously with her 17 years the youngest of the opening day of the Junior World Championships in Guayaquil. In this class the reigning junior world champion Chloe Devictor (FRA), qualified for the final where she found Giulia Carna (ITA), the Grand Slam finalist in Budapest last July.
Third in the recent Mediterranean Games, Devictor, like many athletes entered for this first day of competition, already has a firm footing among the seniors, even if she has not yet managed to turn the corner of the World Judo Tour, with a 5th in Paris in 2021 as her best result as yet. A victory in the junior world championship cannot be refused.
The performance of the French, like all those we have seen today, is a significant indication of the quality of judo practised at this level; more open than in the seniors, less tactical but nevertheless very efficient, but to really succeed in the higher category, it will still take a little work. It is certain that all the medals collected here are a perfect springboard for a great career.
Some of the names seen in Guayaquil will certainly be present in Paris in 2024 and maybe more in Los Angeles in 2028.
The final began with Giulia Carna being more aggressive even though she was penalised early, while Chloe Devictor showed her power. Carna was then awarded a second shido for avoiding the grip before she produced the most dangerous move of the match, with a superb ura-nage that was unfortunately close to scoring but not enough. Time for golden score with two shido for Carna and one for Devictor, a shido that became two after another false attack. It didn’t take long before the third penalty was given to the French athlete who definitely brought less energy than her newly crowned junior world champion counterpart. Her name is Giulia Carna and she deserves it. We will remember that today three current world champions qualified for finals but none of them could win again.
Nicole Stakhov (GER) and Binta Ndiaye (SUI) battled for the first bronze medal. It was a very fast win for Ndiaye who managed to take her opponent down to ne-waza, to apply a fast turnover and then take her own leg out with perfect control of the upper body for a pin and a clear ippon. It was a job well done for Ndiaye and a bronze medal at the junior worlds.
It was another European match that saw Marina Castello Diez (ESP) and Rebeka Keller (HUN) compete to complete the podium. The match began like the first bronze medal match, with a situation in ne-waza that could have led to ippon but this time Castello Diez didn’t have enough control of the upper body to keep the immobilisation. However, it was just a short wait more before Castello Diez finally applied a nicely executed turnover, concluded this time with a perfect immobilisation for ippon and a big smile.