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Mareen Kraeh still fighting at top level U52kg
23 Jan 2016 00:05
Germany’s Mareen Kraeh became the winner of the Grand Prix of Havana. She’s is still fighting in the top despite her 31 years. Kraeh belongs to the potential medallists for Rio in the experienced German women’s team. In the category U52kg she’s fighting for qualification with Romy Tarangul who was also in Havana, but Kraeh convinced once again and seems to make it to Rio this time.
In the final in Cuba she defeated Ilse Heylen of Belgium, 38 years herself. Together almost improved last year’s age record in a final when Heylen and Sundberg (32) met in Tbilisi. The 38-year-old Heylen showed once again that she has an incredible fighting spirit.
Kraeh was bronze medalist at the 2013 World Championships in Rio, and this week the top seeded athlete of the category and with no surprise entered the final after having successively defeated Ecaterina Guica (CAN), Evelyne Tschopp (SUI) and Joana Ramos (POR). Her coach and husband for ten years, Olivier Berghmans, declared just before the final: “It’s an incredible story for Ilse. With today’s results, gold or silver, she will probably have enough points to go to the Olympics. She feels super well. Of course we had to adapt the training and focus more on quality than on quantity and tomorrow she will have sore muscles, that’s for sure. I even have to slow her down sometimes. With today’s result, she is again super motivated.“
In the final, Ilse Heylen was rapidly thrown by Mareen Kraeh for waza-ari followed by an immobilisation for ippon. Nevertheless, Heylen’s performance is remarkable and the gold medal of Kraeh is well deserved.
The first bronze medal fight opposed Gretel Romero (CUB) and Odette Giuffrida of Italy. Both athletes having been penalised with a shido, looked ready to fight into the golden score when Giuffrida found a small opportunity with an opportunist ko-uchi-gari for yuko and for a medal.
In the second bronze medal contest, Adiyasambuu Tsolmon (MGL) faced Joana Ramos. After having scored a first yuko, Ramos was then penalised for escaping out of the fighting area. More active than her opponent, the Mongolian was finally able to throw Ramos with a kata-guruma for waza-ari, which the Portuguese replied also with a waza-ari. But that did not intimidate Adiyasambuu, who, with the same technique (kata-guruma) scored another yuko, which was revised as an ippon.
The last victory of Mareen Kraeh was at the Grand Prix in Budapest. It will give her a stable position on the top 10 of the World ranking where she’s yet at the eighth position.
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Nick Koehler (GER)