Inside news
Madeleine Malonga makes the most of opportunities

Madeleine Malonga makes the most of opportunities

31 Mar 2024 23:10
IJF Media team by Nicolas Messner and JudoInside
Tamara Kulumbegashvili - IJF

The -78kg category is undoubtedly one of the most exciting to follow, as there are so many domestic battles within the global battle, a serial that has kept us in suspense for months. This is the only category in France where an athlete has not yet been designated for the Paris 2024 Games, as the level is so close between the two and their teammate Posvite, who is not in Antalya.

The look of Sunday’s final between Final, Madeleine Malonga (FRA) and Alina Boehm (GER) gives us an idea of what is at stake at the moment. Last week Audrey Tcheumeo was lined up during the Tbilisi Grand Slam. Placing only 5th, she missed out on gaining a further competitive edge just a little. It remained to be seen whether Malonga could take advantage of this situation to gain the upper hand.

Both finalists entered the venue showing their extreme motivation. Neither was ready to give anything away and the contest started with attacks from both sides, giving the impression that it could go either way. After receiving a penalty for stepping out, Malonga remained concentrated and engaged her leg to go either for o-uchi-gari or uchi-mata. Catching the belt with her left hand, she kept pushing to conclude with the o-uchi and an ippon. We could feel that this win was liberating for the French athlete. This might be the turning point of her Olympic qualification, a decision which is now in the hands of France Judo.

The first contest for a bronze medal was between Emma Reid (GBR), who put up a good performance in the morning, and Zhenzhao Ma (CHN) who did not do poorly either. Emma Reid was never really in a position to threaten Ma, who controlled the contest, head and shoulders above. The waza-ari she scored and a bit of tactical play were enough to win the bronze medal.

The second bronze medal was contested between Giorgia Stangherlin (ITA) and Anna-Maria Wagner (GER). This was the most tactical contest so far. It ended with Wagner's victory after Stangherlin was penalised a third time just before the end of normal time.

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