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Tessie Savelkouls sees off Sayit for Grand Slam success
12 Mar 2017 16:00
Dutch heavyweight Tessie Savelkouls of the Netherlands came to the fore in the women’s heavyweight category as she conquered the Baku Grand Slam. Savelkouls, Former Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist, finished seventh at the Rio 2016 Olympics, defeated European champion Kayra Sayit of Turkey in the +78kg final with a waza-ari from a drop seoi-nage
It gave the Dutchwoman control and the outsider held her rival in osaekomi until the Turkish judoka tapped out.
In the first semi-final Düsseldorf Grand Prix bronze medallist Larisa Ceric (BIH) was disqualified after receiving a third shido to send Savelkouls into the gold medal contest. In the second semi-final Sayit downed u23 European Championships bronze medallist Yelyzaveta Kalanina (UKR) by a waza-ari after a plucky display from the young Ukrainian.
The first bronze medal was won by Tokyo 2020 hope Kalanina who beat Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist Santa Pakenyte (LTU). Kalanina is the Ukraine’s top project as the Federation have invested in the former basketball player and now that is starting to be repaid after attaining a first Grand Slam medal. Pakenyte was thrown with an uchi-mata in golden score for a waza-ari as the tallest judoka in the category showed that she is more than a work in progress after a fifth-place finish at the Paris Grand Slam.
The second bronze medal was won by Svitlana Iaromka (UKR) as Ukraine won both +78kg bronze medals. Ceric was penalised a third time for passivity which was one more shido than Iaromka accrued as the latter ensured that two Ukrainian flags would be raised during the women’s heavyweight awarding ceremony.
Savelkouls won the third gold medal for the Netherlands in one day, a unique serie in the IJF World Tour that never happened before for the Dutch team.
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Thierry Clauw (BEL)
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