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Unterwurzacher pleases Austrian fans with gold medal U63kg
18 Feb 2017 17:35
Austria is cherishing the gold medal performance of one of their own in Oberwart. At the European Open Kathrin Unterwurzacher pleased the home crowd by securing another gold medal, a repeat of her 2014 U63kg victory. In the final bout, the crowd began an early celebration of the first - and perhaps the weekend’s only - Austrian gold while Unterwurzacher controlled Filipino fighter Kiyomi Watanabe in a vice-like holddown.
Yanka Pascoalino of Brazil had to tap out against Spanish Isabel Puche, who won the bronze. Bronze also went to French Lindsay Tsang Sam Moi who defeated Japanese Aimi Nouchi with a single score.
Japanese Momo Tamaoki won the gold for women U57kg. The 22-year old former World Junior Champion defeated Paris winner Kwon Youjeong (KOR) in the final. She needed three minutes in the golden score to score a wazari with a footsweep.
Tamaoki often begins slowly, but picks her wins. Last year she won the Grand Prix in Budapest and took bronze at the Grand Slam in Tokyo in 2016. The U57kg semi-final between Momo Tamaoki and Marti Malloy (USA) was quite a thriller, despite the lack of offensive scoring. In the golden score period, an aggressive shove from Tamaoki, while Malloy was disengaged from the action to tend to her foot, sent the American stumbling headlong from the competition area. Malloy held her composure well, but a false attack just seconds later handed the victory to the Japanese fighter. For bronze, Malloy’s strong offense scored four unanswered wazari against Sarah Harachi (FRA). Canadian Jessica Klimkait caught Jovana Rogic with kouchi-gari at the midpoint of the match, one of her strongest weapons today. It was enough for the victory and a bronze medal. Both Jessica Klimkait and Marti Malloy were surprised by the uncharacteristic behavior of the Japanese winner Tamaoki. Klimkait was very pleased with bronze, which is another step in securing her place among the seniors.
A second Pan American medal, bronze at U52kg this time, went to Angelica Delgado (USA). Yuki Hashimoto of Japan took the gold, however, when she defeated Réka Pupp of Hungary. Hashimoto off-balanced Pupp with a lightning fast osoto-gari on the edge of the contest area for wazari, which was good enough for gold. It was great effort for the unseeded Réka Pupp, now fighting in her new category; she caught Angelica Delgado in the dying seconds of the quarter final bout and defeated Russia’s Olga Gagarina in the semi. Last week, in Paris, she had a tough draw, but at this European Open she rose to the occasion and took the opportunity to win a medal. Another Hungarian in the same category, Bernadett Keliger, joined Pupp on the podium. Her hard-earned bronze came from a second-effort kouchi-gari deep into golden score.
The first gold medal in Oberwart went to Jeong Bo-Kyeong, which was not surprising. The winner of the Grand Slam in Paris and Olympic silver medallist won her four contests and defeated Hiromi Endo by a single wazari. The final was interrupted for a scratch to the face of Endo after a clash of the heads with only half of a minute left in regular time. Just ten seconds later, Jeong struck for a wazari. Another Korean, Kang YuJeong, won the bronze by beating Kimberley Renicks (GBR). The second bronze in the category went to Martine L’ Henry, who lost the semi final against Jeong, but defeated Ewa Konieczny (POL) with a fantastic execution of yoko-sutemi waza.
Japan leads the medal count, followed by Korea. The proud Austrians are satisfied with their golden girl Unterwurzacher, but hope for more as the judoka move into the second day of competition.
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