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Takaichi Kengo untouchable for competitors in Tashkent
6 Oct 2016 21:30
Takaichi Kengo of Japan won U66kg gold for Japan at the Grand Prix of Tashkent with a determined display on day one. Takaichi, 23, who was behind Ebinuma Masashi in the domestic pecking order in the race for Rio, looks poised to be in a battle with boy wonder Abe Hifumi on the road to Tokyo 2020.
The Japanese Former World Judo Masters bronze medallist, who is part of a two-man team in Tashkent, was locked in a battle for grips with former world silver medallist Azamat Mukanov (KAZ) before scoring a waza-ari with a drop seoi-nage. Takaichi used up as much time as possible on the ground as a ne-waza scramble ensured and the former was in no rush to return to a vertical base.
In the first semi-final Takaichi held down Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix winner Dovdon Altansukh (MGL) with a kuzure-kesa-gatame for 20 seconds and ippon. In the second semi-final Zagreb Grand Prix winner Andraz Jereb (SLO) fell to former world silver medallist Azamat Mukanov (KAZ) by ippon.
The first bronze medal was won by world number 19 Jereb who defeated 20-year-old Dzmitry Minkou (BLR). Slovenia have been one of the countries to lay down a marker in these post-Olympic events as they have been highly-active and successful. Minkou, who finished seventh on his IJF debut at the Samsun Grand Prix, was thrown for a waza-ari to at last move in the right direction and finish fifth in Tashkent. The second bronze medal went to world number four Dovdon who defeated unranked 21-year-old IJF debutant Sardor Nurillaev (UZB). Dovdon trailed to a yuko score going into the final minute and Nurillaev had been penalised three times which made for an intriguing last 60 seconds. The Mongolian tied up the score with a sumi-gaeshi with 40 seconds left and won the bronze medal on shido penalties as the inexperience of Nurillaev showed.
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Naoufal Ez Zerrad (BEL)
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