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Zhehui Zhang first Chinese to take gold in 2016
15 May 2016 16:05
Asian Championships winner Zhang Zhehui (CHN) conquered the U78kg category on Sunday as the Chinese fighter beat former Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Albina Amangeldiyeva (KAZ) in the final. Zhang and Amangeldiyeva were both striving to win their first Grand Prix title and the Chinese fighter, who held a qualification position before her first contest, scored a yuko – the only score of the contest – to all but confirm her place at the Olympics where she will a serious medal threat.
In the first semi-final Olympic silver medallist Gemma Gibbons (GBR) was beaten by Zhang who was part of an 11-strong Chinese team in Almaty. Gibbons, who was fighting for more than a place in the final with an outside chance of making it to her second Olympics, saw Zhang receive a shido for passivity but was then on the receiving end of harai-makikomi for a waza-ari score. British hero Gibbons, who moved from London to Edinburgh following her hometown heroics in 2012, scored two yukos in the final minute as Zhang started to wilt under the pressure. The Chinese held on after a spirited effort from the battling Gibbons who turned her attention to a push for bronze while her opponent could look forward to a spot on the podium. In the second semi-final Amangeldiyeva convincingly defeated Pan American Championships bronze medallist Yalennis Castillo (CUB) by registering a score in all three columns. Amangeldiyeva produced a yuko, waza-ari and then ippon to give the home crowd an invested interest in the final as they chased their second gold medal of the competition.
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