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Chizuru Arai defeats Kelita Zupancic in Paris judo final
12 Feb 2017 18:10
In the women's U70kg final at the Grand Slam in Paris, Tokyo Grand silver medallist Arai Chizuru of Japan and former world number one Kelita Zupancic from Canada faced off. The Japanese gave no chance to Zupancic and, with a neat turnover, caught her in tate-shiho-gatame for 20 seconds and ippon, despite the instructions that double Olympic Champion, Kayla Harrison, offered from the stands to her Canadian friend.
In the first semi-final, Arai worked hard against the fast-rising Elvismar Rodriguez (VEN), who prepared for the event by working out at the IJF Training Centre in Hungary. Arai squeezed past the Venezuelan judoka by a waza-ari while Canadian Zupancic bested You Jeyoung (KOR) in golden score after the South Korean received hansoku-make for a third shido.
The Netherlands secured yet more hardware in France when Sanne Van Dijke defeated JeYoung You (KOR) by ippon. The 21-year-old Dutchwoman rushed to her coach to celebrate capturing her first Grand Slam medal with many more expected in 2017.
The second bronze medal contest featured Rodriguez and fellow youngster Marie Eve Gahie of France. These two judoka are already among the world’s top -70kg judoka at their tender ages and, as they improve, all signs suggest that they will be there for many Olympic cycles to come. Rodriguez, who was supported to compete in Paris by the IJF, defeated Gahie by a waza-ari to win her fourth Grand Slam bronze medal.
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