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Marie Eve Gahie takes precious first Grand Slam gold
29 Oct 2016 18:35
French Junior European champion Marie Eve Gahie became the youngest French woman to win Grand Slam gold as the teenager defeated Baku Grand Slam silver medallist Maria Portela of Brazil for the top prize in the U70kg category.
Gahie, who turns 20 in November, absorbed the power of her opponent and her lack of experience was not a factor as the fearless Frenchwoman was light on her feet and positive throughout the final. A shido for Portela turned out to be the deciding factor as Portela was the only judoka penalised in the four minute gold medal contest (for a negative posture) as both judoka failed to produce a score in a close contest.
In the first semi-final the former number two of the world and double Olympian Maria Portela outworked Tallinn European Open winner Anna Bernholm (SWE) for all four minutes as the latter was penalised with a shido which decided the scoreless contest. In the second semi-final GAHIE came from behind to defeat former Cadet European Championship winner Katie-Jemima Yeats-Brown (GBR) in a contest between two of the rising judoka at this weight. Glasgow European Open winner Yeats-Brown, a former gymnast and rugby player, led with a waza-ari from an ouchi-gari before her French foe restored parity with a waz-ari of her own. The younger fighter pulled away from the British judoka with two yuko scores to seal a place in the -70kg final.
The first bronze medal was claimed by 21-year-old Yeats-Brown over 18-year-old Grand Slam debutant Giovanna Scoccimarro (GER). The Briton marked her first Grand Slam appearance with a vibrant display as she was composed and energetic for all four minutes. Yeats-Brown, who had Barcelona 1992 Olympic bronze medallist and Sydney 2000 Olympic silver medallist Kate Howey (GBR) offering her instruction from the coaching chair, scored a waza-ari with a sode-tsurikomi-goshi, her favourite technique, with 45 seconds left, to win a superb medal as Britain are reaping the benefit of sending out their best youngsters at this opening period of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic cycle.
The second bronze medal was captured by former Buenos Aires Pan American Open bronze medallist Barbara Timo (BRA) who scored twice without reply to defeat Bernholm. Timo, who is part of a plentiful and star-laden Brazilian team in Abu Dhabi, opened the scoring with a waza-ari after one minute with a harai-makikomi before the former added a yuko score with a left-sided seoi-nage. Bernholm, who moved up from U63kg to U70kg in July, was outgripped and was physically spent as Timo won her first Grand Slam hardware.
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Daniel Brata (ROU)