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Kim wins title at best Puerto Rican judo weekend ever

3 Apr 2016 20:15

 by Mark Pickering - IJF    Emir Incegul / Turkish Judo Federation
20160403_Samsun_Emir_Kim JiYoun

Top seeded and world number 8, Svitlana Iaromka (UKR) had a perfect start of the Grand Prix in Samsun until she was defeated by the Korean Kim Ji-Youn in the semi-final. The last win for Kim on the occasion of a Grand Prix was in 2014 (Jeju). In the final she was opposed to the surprise of the day, Melissa Mojica (PUR), who was coached by Jessica Garcia, who we interviewed yesterday as she just finished the first level of the IJF Academy.

Fight after fight, during the preliminary rounds, Melissa Mojica proved that today was a good day for her. In the semi-final she was opposed to the second top seeded athlete, Jasmin Kuelbs (GER), silver medallist of the last European Games. Dominated, and ahead by a shido, she did not abandon her task though and kept moving forward until she changed direction to score a beautiful waza-ari, that surprised everyone, including her.

A first shido was given to Mojica after a little more than a minute of fight in the final. One minute later, the Puerto Rico athlete was penalised again for passivity as Kim was clearly more active and just before entering the last minute, both athletes received a shido for passivity, giving a clear option to the Korean for the final victory. In the last attack Mojica was not strong enough to score and it is finally Kim who stepped on the top of the podium in Turkey. Still an excellent weekend for Puerto Rico where also Maria Perez won a medal, perhaps the best weekend ever for such small judo nation.

The first bronze medal fight opposed Marine Erb (FRA), who is still hoping for an Olympic qualification in a category that in France is dominated by Emilie Andeol, and Jasmin Kuelbs (GER). Erb was penalised after less than a minute for false attack and again a little later. Those two shido against her were enough to give the victory to Kuelbs.

The two Ukrainian Iryna Kindzerska, bronze medallist in Tokyo last December, and Svitlana Iaromka, winner of the Baku Grand Slam last year, met for the second bronze medal. After an observation round between the two Ukrainian, Iaromka engaged a soto-makikomi technique for a yuko that she immediately followed on the floor for an immobilisation for ippon.

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