| Event type

Half-Lightweight (≤52 kilograms), Women

Date25 July 2021
LocationNippon Budokan, Chiyoda, Tokyo (Mat 1)
Participants29 from 29 countries

None of the lower seeded competitors were able to break into the domain of the six top seeded judokas. Second seed, Uta Abe from Japan was considered favourite on home soil in the final against the top seeded Frenchwoman Amandine Buchard. Abe had been world champion in 2018 and 2019 and succeeded in four Grand Slam tournaments in the last four years. Buchard, however, had clinched the European title, won the World Masters in 2021, and had already defeated Abe on the World Judo Tour. In the final, after 8:27 min, and well into the extra-time, the Japanese pinned Buchard with a Kuzure-kesa-gatame for an Ippon (full point) as Golden Score. Abe had a tough path into the final and beat the two eventual bronze medallists, Odette Giuffrida, Italy’s silver medallist in 2016, and Britain’s Chelsie Giles, the only highly seeded participant with no World or European Championships medal to her credit. Against Giuffrida, Abe required more than seven minutes for a Golden Score. Buchard sailed through the first three rounds with convincing victories by Ippon including a 16 seconds flash victory over Switzerland’s Fabienne Kocher.

Although dominant in the bout, Kocher later missed the first Judo medal for Switzerland in succumbing Giles, who scored two Waza-aris (half points) to take bronze. Giuffrida toppled Hungarian Reka Pupp by Seoi-nage for an Ippon after 4:31. In the first round, Pupp eliminated Majlinda Kelmendi from Kosovo, sending her home after just one match. Only seeded 15th, the 2016 gold medallist was not considered a potential medallist in Tokyo although she had placed third at the 2021 World Masters in Doha.

Abe won her gold medal about half an hour before her brother Hifume won gold in the same weight category in the men’s events. Thus, they accomplished the same historical feat as in the 2018 World Championships, when the clinched the titles as the first brother and sister to do so.

1Uta AbeJPNGold
2Amandine BuchardFRASilver
=3Odette GiuffridaITABronze
=3Chelsie GilesGBRBronze
=5Réka PuppHUN
=5Fabienne KocherSUI
=7Park Dae-SolKOR
=7Charline Van SnickBEL
=9Larissa PimentaBRA
=9Tetiana Levytska-ShukvaniGEO
=9Gili CohenISR
=9Soumiya IraouiMAR
=9Lkhagvasuren SosorbaramMGL
=9Nataliya KuzyutinaROC
=9Andreea ChițuROU
=9Angelica DelgadoUSA
=17Ecaterina GuicaCAN
=17Ana PérezESP
=17Taciana CesarGBS
=17Sabiana AnestorHAI
=17Majlinda KelmendiKOS
=17Arbresha RexhepiMKD
=17Kristine JiménezPAN
=17Agata PerencPOL
=17Joana RamosPOR
=17Kachakorn WarasihaTHA
=17Gülbadam BabamyradowaTKM
=17Diyora KeldiyorovaUZB
=17Nguyễn Thị Thanh ThủyVIE