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Steenhuis validates number one status in the Netherlands
12 Mar 2017 14:30
Dutch Guusje Steenhuis showed that she is the present and future for the Netherlands at U78kg as she tamed Rio 2016 pick Marhinde Verkerk. Former world champion Verkerk, 31, who lost in her first contest at the Olympics in Brazil, was thrown with a osoto-makikomi for a waza-ari by the World Judo Masters bronze medallist and was then held down for 20 seconds.
The silver for Verkerk should be enough to earn future selections while Steenhuis did exactly what she set out to achieve and is arguably her country’s top medal hope for the World Championships in Budapest. Verkerk wasn’t on podium photo as she suffered a shoulder injury after her final match.
In the first semi-final Steenhuis bested 23-year-old Yoshimura Shiori of Japan on shidos in golden score. After a scoreless four minutes of regulation time and one shido going against the Japanese the contest continued into golden score until Yoshimura received a second shido which sent Steenhuis into the final.
In the second semi-final two-time Grand Slam winner Joo Abigel of Hungary fell to Verkerk by a waza-ari from a neat ashi-waza attack. Joo, who was penalised with a shido for a leg grab, committed too much and could not stop the all-Dutch final from being realised.
The first bronze medal was won by Joo who is well on her way to being a major contender at the World Championships in Budapest. Joo defeated Tashkent Grand Prix silver medallist Albina Amangeldiyeva (KAZ) by ippon from an ouchi-gari having led by a waza-ari as the Kazakh was outmatched.
The second bronze medal contest was won by Yoshimura who marked her first IJF start since 2013 by defeating Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist Samanta Soares (BRA) by ippon after two minutes.
Steenhuis won the first of a unique three gold medals for the Netherlands in one day.
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Thomas van Gestel (NED)
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