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Lappinagov wins his first Grand Prix title as Russia hit golden medal trail
25 Feb 2017 19:05
Russian World number 15 Aslan Lappinagov struck in Germany as he received U81kg gold with a battling performance. The Russian, who has a whole star-laden roster to compete with at this weight in his homeland – including the reigning Olympic champion Khasan Khalmurzaev – was spared from a meeting against Budapest Grand Prix bronze medallist Ungvari Attila (HUN) in the final as the Hungarian could not compete having sustained a right knee injury from a tai-otoshi attempt in his semi-final.
In the first semi-final former Junior European Championships bronze medallist Dorin Gotonoaga (MDA) was subdued by Ungvari Attila via shime-waza as the Hungarian showed his effective ne-waza once again having also won his quarter-final on the ground. In the second semi-final a clash of the Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallists saw Ivaylo Ivanov (BUL) lose out after 30 seconds of golden score to Lappinagov. The Russian opened the scoring with a waza-ari with 37 seconds left but Ivanov restored parity with 20 seconds remaining. Lappinagov came up with a match-winning score in added time and advanced to the final.
The first bronze medal was won by Ivanov who bested Glasgow European Open silver medallist Benjamin Muennich (GER) by a waza-ari score. World number five Ivanov, 22, who was funded to compete in Germany by the IJF, threw his rival beautifully with a sumptuous drop seoi-nage.
The second bronze medal was claimed by Gotonoaga in dramatic fashion as he switched his body cleverly to throw 21-year-old Junior European Championships silver medallist Anri Egutidze (POR) for ippon. Egutidze, who moved with his family when he was growing up from the Western side of Georgia to Portugal, was caught with a tani-otoshi with five seconds left for the maximum score.
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Alex Tew (GBR)