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Yamabe Kanae charges confidence in Baku
8 May 2016 16:55
Japanese Olympian Yamabe Kanae won +78kg glory at the Grand Slam in Baku as she topped the field in the heaviest women’s category on Sunday. Yamabe was due to contest an all-Asian final against world champion Yu Song (CHN) which would have been a fascinating duel but the Chinese fighter picked up a back injury in her semi-final and could not take her place in the final. World bronze medallist Yamabe, 25, who won the All Japan Championships in April to officially earn her selection for Rio 2016, is now a two-time Grand Slam gold medallist after achieving the same result in Paris in 2014.
In the first semi-final Yu defeated Emilie Andeol (FRA) in a scoreless contest by way of shido penalties. Andeol was penalised twice in the four minute contest while Yu posted an unblemished record which was enough to claim a place in the final and the right to fight for the gold medal. In the second semi-final Yamabe saw off African Championships bronze medallist Nihel Cheikh Rouhou (TUN) by holding down the Tunisian for 15 seconds after leading by a waza-ari score.
The first bronze medal was won by Cheikh Rouhou who wrapped up former Baku Grand Slam silver medallist Santa Pakenyte (LTU) on the ground with a kami-shiho-gatame hold for 20 seconds. The second bronze medal was won by 2015 Paris Grand Slam winner Andeol who threw Tbilisi Grand Prix bronze medallist Maryna Slutskaya (BLR) with an ouchi-gari for a yuko score and held on for the final place on the podium.
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