In the elimination round of 32, Ecaterina Guica (52 kg) bowed out to Belgium’s Charline Van Snick on the legendary tatamis of the Nippon Budokan. Van Snick first scored a wazi-ari before ending the clash by ippon with just over a minute to go.
“The fight didn’t go very well. I would have liked to do better and avoid ending up on the floor. It’s disappointing, but I wanted to approach the match in the best possible way,” explained Guica, clearly downcast.
Van Snick, silver medallist at the London Olympics, admitted to her coach that she was completely drained after her fight against Guica, who had sensed her opponent’s fatigue but hadn’t managed to take advantage of it.
“I was feeling good and I could tell she was losing energy. It’s frustrating because after the match, I was physically in better shape than she was. I knew it was going to be a tough fight but I really believed my chances were good.”
The Québécoise from La Prairie underwent hand surgery after an injury in March. However, she was able to recover in time for the World Championships in June and the Olympic Games.
This was Guica’s second Olympic appearance. She placed ninth in Rio in 2016. Evidently, the 27-year-old judoka noted several differences between her two Olympic experiences.
“For Tokyo, we mostly trained at home. Still, I had the chance to work on my weak points. Once here, the ambiance was good. It was nice to be cheered on during the fights.”
On Monday, Jessica Klimkait (57 kg) and Arthur Margelidon (73 kg) will both be in action. World champion Klimkait has to bye to the round of 16, while Margelidon will face off against Sulaiman Hamad of Saudi Arabia in the round of 32.