Twenty-three-year-old Katie Davis (Sacramento, Calif. / Team Sacramento) became just the third U.S. woman ever to win a medal at the International Blind Sports Association World Championships on Sunday in Antalya, Turkey.
Competing in her first World Championships, Davis won a silver medal in the non-Paralympic 78kg division on the final day of the World Championships.
“It’s just awesome,” Davis said. “I have been training hard, but I never expected to win a medal at my first World Championships.”
Davis, a former heavyweight who lost 40lbs between last April and the World Trials in September to make 78kg, was disappointed to learn that the International Paralympic Committee had decided to make the two heaviest divisions for the London Paralympic Games 70kg and +70kg.
Davis gamely agreed to fight in both the +70kg and 78kg divisions in Antalya. After placing seventh in the +70kg division on Saturday, Davis began competition on Sunday with a win over Chinara Rzazade (AZE).
The first-time World Team member attacked constantly and forced Rzazade into a stalling penalty. In the second minute Rzazade threw Davis for a yuko (quarter-point score). David answered by aggressively controlling the match, forcing Rzazade into another penalty and tying the match. The score was tied at yuko a piece at the end of regulation time and the match went into Golden Score (overtime). Davis continued to outpace the Azerbaijani through the second minute of the overtime period, forcing her into another penalty and sealing the win for Davis.
In her second match, Davis faced Juana Sanchez (ESP). In the first minute of the match, Sanchez attacked with an o uchi gari (inner thigh throw) which Davis countered for ippon (instant win).
The win put Davis into the finals against Tatiana Savostyanova (RUS), a bronze medalist at the 2008 Paralympic Games in the 70kg division. Davis started with a strong grip and attacked well, but the Russian's experience showed when she threw Katie with sumi gaeshi (sacrifice throw) for a waza-ari (half-point) score and pinned her for the win.
Davis and her World Teammates will compete next at the USA Judo Visually Impaired National Championships on May 1 in Myrtle Beach, S.C.