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Francisco Garrigos makes golden start in Abu Dhabi
28 Oct 2016 19:10
Spanish Former Junior world champion Francisco Garrigos put in an inspired performance as the 21-year-old won all three of his contests to win his first Grand Slam gold medal. Garrigos, who won the Junior World Championships in 2014, lost in round three here a year ago and showed the degree to which he has improved in the last 12 months by beating Havana Grand Prix winner Eric Takabatake (BRA) in the final.
Takabatake was penalised twice before Garrigos was reprimanded for holding onto the same side for too long without attacking and from there the Spaniard used up the remaining time on the ground as he probed the defensive abilities of the Brazilian in ne-waza to conclude the contest. The victory gives Garrigos an ideal start to the new Olympic cycle while Takabatake has a silver medal to show for his trip and will look to repeat his Grand Slam honours as early as December at the final Grand Slam of 2016 in Tokyo.
In the first semi-final Takabatake downed Zagreb Grand Prix silver medallist Robert Mshvidobadze (RUS) by ippon with 14 seconds remaining and no prior scores registered. The explosive Brazilian fighter had two shidos against his name but conjured up one of the best ippons of the day when he needed it the most as he guaranteed the Olympics hosts one more medal on day one.
In the second semi-final Tyumen Grand Slam silver medallist Albert Oguzov (RUS) was outfought by Garrigos who prevailed after 91 seconds of golden score. Oguzov applied more pressure during regulation time but Garrigos had enough in reserve to force the action in additional time. The Russian ducked under a gripping attempt from the Spaniard and was penalised with a shido to hand the contest to the young judoka.
The first bronze medal was won by Oguzov who rushed past 22-year-old Mehman Sadigov (AZE). Former Junior World Championships bronze medallist Sadigov, who was stepping up to the Grand Slam stage for the first time, turned off an ouchi-gari attempt from the Russian but was not expecting his opponent to immediately pursue him on the ground as he unlocked an arm and forced the submission with a juji-gatame. The second bronze medal was won by Zagreb Grand Prix bronze medallist Cedric Revol (FRA) who was sharp and stylish as he beat Mshvidobadze. The Russian was looking to impress national team manager Ezio Gamba who was in attendance but it was Revol who threw beautifully with a drop seoi-nage for ippon having led by a yuko.
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