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The Netherlands best nation at Grand Prix Tbilisi
27 Mar 2016 17:00
The Netherlands have won the medal table at the Grand Prix of Tbilisi. A very welcome victory during a period of restless politics, but the athletes themselves end this story with three gold medals and two silver. At the last day in Georgia Noël van ‘t End and Marhinde Verkerk added gold to Kim Polling’s victory on Saturday. Roy Meyer and Guusje Steenhuis took silver.
The climax was an old Dutch final between enemies Marhinde Verkerk and Guusje Steenhuis, in this case ended successfully for Marhinde Verkerk, who is the prior choice for the Olympic Games in Rio. Although their final match was ugly as the one in Düsseldorf for bronze, the gold was decided by penalties. Last time it was Steenhuis, now Verkerk who captured a medal, gold in this case.
The women’s heavyweight title was for Kayra Sayit of Turkey who won gold as Maria Suelen Altheman of Brazil couldn’t fight due to an injury. The former French, known as Ketty Mathe, won a welcome gold medal. Altheman had won the Grand Prix in Düsseldorf.
In the men’s division Noël van ‘t End celebrated a gold medal at his comeback. Van ‘t End bested Swedish strong man U90kg Marcus Nyman who was dangerous on the ground but in tachi-waza Van ‘t End mastered him from the start with variable judo. After silver in Abu Dhabi in 2015 and a fifth place in Tokyo, this is a better return for Van ‘t End. In Paris he stranded in his second match. It was a gold medal one year after he won in Samsun. In between Van ‘t End suffered a knee injury and the although he attended the World Championships, it came too early.
Sweden did win gold, as the Swedes had both their frontrunners in the final today, a unique situation. Nyman won in Düsseldorf, but today it was Martin Pacek who captured the gold in the final against Javad Mahjoub of Iran. Pacek won all of his four matches including the semi final against Beka Gviniashvili of Georgia.
Or Sasson took the gold medal in the final +100kg. His opponent was Roy Meyer who he had beaten three times before, the last time in Düsseldorf and also this time Meyer wasn’t too happy when he stepped of the mat ad the referee didn't award a leg grab by Sasson. Sasson could only give Meyer a friendly tap on the shoulder after snatching the gold. Sasson defeated four opponents including Rafael Silva of Brazil, the 2012 bronze medallist who seems on the way to Rio with another bronze medal.
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Eric Stunnenberg (NED)