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Austrian Kathrin Unterwurzacher picks up the road of success

3 Dec 2016 12:10

 by Mark Pickering - IJF    IJF Media Team / International Judo Federation
20161203_TokyoGS_IJF_JW_Kathrin Unterwurzacher

Austria's Kathrin Unterwurzacher won her second career Grand Slam gold medal as she defeated former Junior World Championships winner Minei Miho for U63kg gold.

Minei, who ruled the world as a junior in 2014, has had limited exposure to the IJF World Judo Tour while Unterwurzacher is a household name with Grand Prix, Grand Slam and World Judo Masters honours to her name. Unterwurzacher was almost countered from a sumi-gaeshi attack but quickly recovered and continued to attack until she broke the deadlock with a yuko from a ko-soto-gake. The Austrian was penalised for going out of the area but maintained her advantage with her tactical nous to record the biggest victory of her career.

The U63kg gold medallist who won silver at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam said: “I’m very proud to win this gold medal today, this event is very special and it has always been my ambition to win in Tokyo. It is very difficult fighting Japanese judoka here but I prepared very well for this event and I am absolutely thrilled.”

In the first semi-final Minei, who shocked Rio 2016 Olympic champion Tina Trstenjak of Slovenia by a yuko  in their quarter-final, required added time to find a way past Almaty Grand Prix winner Margaux Pinot (FRA). Minei and Pinot were even at the end of regular time with a single shido to their names and no scores distributed and moved into the unlimited period of golden score where the first score or penalty decides the winner. A reaching osoto-gari from the Japanese fighter sent her into the final with a yuko score. In the second semi-final Tashkent Grand Prix winner Daria Davydova (RUS) fell to Unterwurzacher. The Austrian submitted the Russian with a koshi-jime strangle having led by a waza-ari.

The first bronze medal was won by Rio 2016 Olympic champion Tina Trstenjak who bounced back from her unexpected quarter-final defeat to beat Davydova. The European, world and Olympic champion took the lead with a yuko from an ipon seoi-nage and added a second as she outscored her Russian opponent to take an important medal on her first outing as Slovenia’s -63kg Olympic kingpin.

The second bronze medal was won by former Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Pinot who defeated Tyumen Grand Slam winner Nouchi Aimi by a single shido in a scoreless contest. Frenchwoman Pinot, 22, entered the Grand Slam medal podium for the second stage in her career which is on the rise with every competition and she could be a prominent feature of the next IJF event, the 2017 Paris Grand Slam in February.

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  • Kathrin Unterwurzacher (AUT) - World Championships Astana (2015, KAZ) - © Roland Ferenci
  • Kathrin Unterwurzacher (AUT) - World Championships Astana (2015, KAZ) - © Roland Ferenci
  • Kathrin Unterwurzacher (AUT) - European Open Oberwart (2015, AUT) - © Roland Ferenci

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