Tokyo (AFP)

The Ukrainian Daria Bilodid, already the youngest world champion in the history of judo, has retained the world crown in -48 kg, at age 18, in Tokyo Sunday, one year of the Olympics 2020. Mélanie Clément finished at the foot of the podium.

A year ago in Baku, Azerbaijan, Bilodid became the youngest judoka in history (ladies and gentlemen alike) crowned world champion, at 17 years and 345 days precisely. Even earlier than the Japanese legend Ryoko Tani (18 years and 27 days) and the heavyweight Teddy Riner (18 years and 159 days), which makes him miss the rendezvous Tokyo.

The Ukrainian elite is now the first double individual world gold medalist before her 19th birthday, which she will celebrate on October 10th.

As at the Worlds-2018, Bilodid beat Japan's Funa Tonaki, World N.1 and World Champion 2017, by waza-ari. She who had never fought in the birthplace of judo retains its perfect balance (4-0) against Tonaki, as against all the Japanese opponents she has met so far.

Illustration of its extreme strength despite its young age: since the fall of 2017, the Ukrainian teenager has won 47 for a single lost fight, against the French Melanie Clement, in the final of the Tbilisi Grand Prix in March.

Clément, precisely, continues to revolve around the international podiums (7th at the World Championships-2017 and at the Euro-2019, 5th at the Euro-2018), without being able to climb for the moment: in the mythical Nippon Budokan Nestled in the heart of Tokyo, not far from the Imperial Palace, and hosting the Olympic judo events next summer, it was ranked fifth.

- Japan deprived of gold -

Beaten for the first time in the quarter-finals (by Tonaki), then victorious in the repechage (against Pareto), she lost her second time in her fight for a bronze medal, against the Mongolian Urantsetseg Munkhbat, by ippon. At 27, it is nevertheless the best result of her career, while she has devoted herself fully to judo for only two years.

"We know the track that it is, I get trapped on the ground again, like at the World Championships two years ago against her (in quarters, ed), but it was for the medal ... do not go far, there is good and bad today, I beat girls that I had never beaten, I dropped (my opponents), I do a lot of work on it , I advanced in this championship ... ", commented Clément at the microphone of the television channel L'Equipe.

"This is a fifth place I will learn and be able to continue my way to the Games," she said.

On his land, the inevitable Japan was deprived of gold during the first day of competition. In addition to Tonaki, men side, Ryuju Nagayama only got the bronze in -60 kg, by depriving his compatriot Naohisa Takato, double champion of the world title.

The 26-year-old Lukhumi Chkhvimiani of Georgia won gold at the expense of Uzbekistan's Sharafuddin Lutfillaev, two months after winning European gold.

The two French men in lightweight, Walide Khyar (24) and Luka Mkheidze (23), were stopped before the quarterfinals, which open the way to the medals.

© 2019 AFP