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Japan and Korea take the gold medals at European Open in Rome
18 Feb 2017 17:00
Taikoh Fujisaka of Japan won the European Open for men U60kg in Rome. The 20-year old defeated Russian Islam Yashuev in the final. Fujisaka had to win all five battles to get the gold in the Palla Pellicone. Fujisaka is used to the European level of competition; during his junior period, he competed a few times in Europe with notable success. French Vincent Limare and Oruj Valizada (AZE) grabbed the bronze. Limare lost his semi final to the Russian fighter and Valizada lost to Fujisaka.
As expected An Baul of Korea won the gold for men U66kg. The 2015 World Champion and Olympic finalist didn’t make a mistake, although not all matches were as easy as it looks on paper. Two of his matches were won well into extra time: Mushkiyev (AZE) and the semi final against Abdula Abdulzhalilov (RUS). His last opponent was a surprising finalist, Italy’s Matteo Medves. Actually, Medves is continuing his recent path of success, which began earlier this month when he took the Italian title. Now he has added an appealing silver medal, his first in the World Tour. An finished the match just before the regular time.
In a field of 51 judoka, Russian Abdula Abdulzhalilov won bronze, as did Joshiro Maruyama (JPN), who defeated took Samual Hall (GBR). Hall also showed some good judo today, but just missed the podium. For the record: Olympic Champion Fabio Basile didn’t participate in Rome.
Forty-seven judoka filled the bracket in the division U73kg where Yuhei Yoshida completed the success for the young Japanese team, all about 20 years-old. Yoshida bested Leonardo Casaglia of Italy in the final, which was another surprising effort from Italian team.
Two Brazilians took bronze: Marcelo Contini (27) and Lincoln Neves (21). It was typical for the field which was a mix of new, young challengers and more seasoned judoka, but not the top. In that respect, the French fighters, usually strong in this category, may have expected a medal today, but both first-seeded Guillaume Chaine (7th) and second ranked Benjamin Axus lost their bouts in the final phase of the tournament.
As expected, Asia domination in Rome and that is unlikely to change on Sunday.
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