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Joachim Bottieau does the impossible in Düsseldorf
20 Feb 2016 19:20
Belgian judoka Joachim Bottieau won the Grand Prix in Dusseldorf for the second year in a row as he denied home player Sven Maresch in the U81kg final. Bottieau saves his best judo for Dusseldorf and while he looks into the reasons for that pattern the German crowd and Tyumen Grand Slam bronze medallist Maresch had to settle for silver in the last contest of day two.
Maresch has never won his home Grand Prix and was left frustrated at the final hurdle as he was in 2014. Bottieau scored a waza-ari with a reaching osoto-otoshi with 57 seconds remaining and Maresch kept fighting for a route back but a tired tai-otoshi effort was shut down and the Belgian was again triumphant in Germany.
In the first semi-final Bottieau defeated Sofia European Open winner Giorgi Papunashvili (GEO) by a yuko score to secure his second successive Dusseldorf Grand Prix final while in the second semi-final Paris Grand Slam silver medallist Ivaylo Ivanov of Bulgaria was beaten by Tyumen Grand Slam bronze medallist Sven Maresch with a last-gasp drop seoi-nage.
The first bronze medal was won by Ivanov who continues to excel on the IJF World Judo Tour. The Bulgarian burst onto the IJF stage by winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam in October and followed up with bronze at the Qingdao Grand Prix before starting 2016 with silver at the Paris Grand Slam. World number 10 Ivanov defeated fellow Qingdao Grand Prix bronze medallist Otgonbaatar Uuganbaatar (MGL) on shido penalties 0:2 and is on the verge of breaking into the top eight in the world. The second bronze medal was won by home judoka Dominic Ressel who defeated Papunashvili in a reverse of January’s Sofia European Open final. Ressel claimed his first Grand Prix medal by fighting back from being a waza-ari down to levelling the scoreboard and then holding down the Georgian for 13 seconds for a yuko to take the lead. The German did not stop there as he countered Papunashvili with a ura-nage for a match-winning waza-ari with 63 seconds left.
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World number 19 Maresch and world number 20 Nifontov were the first and second seeds respectively and both came through the preliminaries unscathed to book a fascinating final. The head-to-head series was locked at 1-1 coming into the gold medal match with their previous meetings coming in 2008 and 2012. Former world, European and Grand Slam winner Nifontov marked his first IJF outing of 2016 with the top prize as he rolled over his German rival for a waza-ari and held down the top seed for 15 seconds with a kesa-gatame to win by wazari-awasette-ippon. Read more
Marta Kuras (POL)
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