Ukraine claimed the first mixed team gold medal at the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Judo International Qualifier for Tokyo 2020 in Fort Wayne.as the event made its debut at a major event.
Teams from eight countries competed in the historic event, including Paralympic and World Championships medallists in their line-ups at the Grand Wayne Convention Center of an event not on the programme at Tokyo 2020.
Ukraine advanced past China 4-2 and then Brazil 4-1 to reach the gold medal match against the United States.
Paralympic bronze medallist Yuliya Halinska opened Ukraine’s final contest with a win against Cynthia Page in the women’s up to 52 kilograms event.
They then went 2-0 up after up European title holder Davyd Khorava beat Ronald Alex Hawthorne in the men’s up to 66kg.
World and Paralympic champion Inna Cherniak reached ippon after holding Liana Mutia down in the women’s up to 63kg.
Rufat Mahomedov sealed gold for Ukraine with his win over Adnan Gutic to take the Ukraine to four wins and end the contest.
Anastasiia Harnyk and Olesandr Nazarenko, therefore, did not need to get out of their seats to face the USA’s Kate Lee Davis and Benjamin Goodrich the women’s up to 63kg and over 81kg respectively.
Halinska was happy to add a team gold to the bronze she had won in the up to 48kg on Wednesday (July 3).
"To win the first gold medal is a great feeling, it’s perfect," she said.
The US were also happy to take an historic silver medal at home.
"I think everybody feels good that we were able to get a medal as a team, show that we have some good judo, some good techniques, some strong competitors that are out there to fight," Goodrich said.
"We had some tough matches yesterday, but today we had a good showing so I think we’re very happy with that."
Brazil were the first team to claim bronze after they beat Thailand.
Giulia Pereira, Thiego Marques, Lucia Araujo, Harlley Damiao Pereira Arruda, Rebeca Silva and Arthur Cavalcante Da Silva stepped onto the podium.
China then beat Spain 4-1 for the second bronze thanks to great performances from Yue Wang and Yurong Wu in the women’s up to 63kg and men’s up to 63kg, respectively.
Wang overcame Spain’s Marta Arce Payno with a fantastic throw for ippon.
Wu also gained an ippon after he held Luis Daniel Gavilan on the mat.