What can we see in their style that gives them the edge? We have the feeling in Olbia that the Italian team are maximizing their home advantage while also being extremely well prepared. It is likely that all of these athletes want to impress at home, win prizes for their country and share the team spirit that comes from a common victory.
Assunta Scutto at -48 kg, ranked number two in the world, offered no fragility, facing powerful nations like France and Russia with confidence and energy. It is this energy that seems to be worn as a uniform throughout the Italian team. She qualified for the final, followed by her -52 kg teammate.
Assunta Scutto: gold
Giulia Carna, 8th in the world ranking, faced the strong French judoka Devictor, who sits above her in second place, in the final of these World Junior Championships. Carna has had few problems in previous rounds, but her quarterfinals and semi-final went far in the gold scoring. Tactics can change at such times and determination can be called into question, but not for these young Italians. Carna kept the same pace from start to finish in those long fights and she was explosive, attacking the entire time. This style is reminiscent of the current heroine of Italy, the double Olympic medalist Odette Giufrida and why not emulate that? It makes sense. Giuffrida has undoubtedly inspired this new generation of young Italian women.
Mingle with their local heroine
We can also notice that the Italian preparation included targeted work on the rulebook; a sensible approach. Judokas are aware of the edge, grip positively and move forward constantly, leaving no room for mistakes. Sure, they can be beaten in these physical failures, but they don’t offer losses easily and following the rules is a big part of it. Carna made perfect use of the advantage in her semi-final against the Kosovar, to ensure that her victory was recorded.
There has been a lot of talk about fitness since the restart of the World Judo Tour and it could have been forgiven as a talking point for our juniors too, as they step onto the world stage for the first time in this new era, but once again Italians are showing the world that there is no excuse. They are fit, strong, determined and educated and these are things that combine to make champions.
Beyond the finals, an image of depth emerges. At -48 kg, Asia Avanzato fought and won a bronze medal, only losing to her compatriot Scutto that day. Having a group of hunters behind the number one is important and having a bank of players as well as excellence offers theories on the system, coaching and team building in Italy.
We cannot yet define the final medal table in Sardinia, but we can see where the constant development of the Italian team makes a great impression. A gold, a silver and a bronze from day 1 in Olbia is not a bad way to inspire the team in the coming days.
Two medals for Italy in -48kg in Olbia