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Julia Figueroa give Spaniards Olympic boost
6 May 2016 17:05
Spanish Julia Figueroa was the overwhelming force in the U48kg category as the Spaniard won all four of her outings to top the podium in Baku. The 25-year-old, who is on course for her first Olympic Games, did not need to compete in the final as her would be opponent Hungarian Csernoviczki Eva was unable to fight due to sustaining a right knee injury in her prior contest.
In the first semi-final Olympic bronze medallist Csernoviczki beat Samsun Grand Prix bronze medallist Laetitia Payet (FRA) in a scoreless bout as the Hungarian prevailed on the narrowest of margins. Payet, who is now the leading contender for France for Rio 2016, was penalised on three occasions while Csernoviczki was only penalised twice as the latter advanced. In the second semi-final the category’s in-form fighter Otgontsetseg Galbadrakh (KAZ) was undone by the inspired FIGUEROA who won by ippon from a left ko-soto-gari with four seconds remaining.
The first bronze medal contest was won by Payet as four-time African Championships winner Taciana Lima-Balde (GBS) was forced to submit. The contest saw one of the shortest judoka in the category in Payet against the tallest in Lima-Balde. With 42 seconds left and just a shido registered against Payet, the French fighter was the sharper of the two in ne-waza and created the space to trap the left arm of Lima-Balde and tap out her opponent with a juji-gatame. The second bronze medal was won by Galbadrakh who shaded European Championships bronze medallist Dilara Lokmanhekim (TUR). The Turkish fighter was penalised twice as she looked perturbed by something while Kazakhstan’s pocket-sized dynamo failed with a half-hearted uchi-mata attempt. A right-sided ouchi-gari was off the mark from Lokmanhekim who received a second shido but remains Turkey’s hope for Rio 2016 despite this defeat.
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Ivo Dos Santos (AUS)