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Otgontsetseg Galbadrakh most successful female Kazach judoka ever after gold

7 Apr 2017 20:50

 by Mark Pickering - IJF    IJF Media Team / International Judo Federation
20170407_ijf_galbadrakh_otgontsetseg

It was no surprise that Otgontsetseg Galbadrakh of Kazakhstan qualified for the final in the U48kg category. Third in the world ranking, the one who began her career with the Mongolian team, is now well placed in the top of the world ranking under the banner of Kazakhstan (since 2015), especially since her magnificent bronze medal at the last Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Several times a gold medalist at world circuit events, she once again confirmed that she is one of the safe bets of the category. She was joined in the final by Shira Rishony (ISR) who occupied the second top seed of the draw. Third in the Baku Grand Slam a few weeks ago, the Israeli relied on a first-round victory over Fjolla Kelmendi, cousin of Majlinda, who won the first Olympic title in history for Kosovo in Rio.

Driton Kuka, the coach of the Olympic champion, explained: "Majlinda and Fjolla's fathers are brothers and they both started judo at the same time. I must say that as a coach, I was impressed by Fjolla when she was young. She was very talented. But she had to stop for a while because of her studying. She is now coming back to the sport."

There is undoubtedly something ‘Kelmendi’ in the judo of Fjolla. This did not pay off in Antalya, but it would not be surprising to see her again in the upcoming months. To be continued…

In the final, the first important moment, was when both athletes Galbadrakh and Rishony where penalised with a first shido as they were too passive and did not try to build positive judo. But that’s the moment Galbadrakh chose to show her impressive talent as she counterattacked Rishony’s technique and propelled her in the air, but for no score. Rishony received a second shido before the Kazakh could score a first waza-ari with lightning sumi-gaeshi. With 17 seconds left on the clock, the mission seemed impossible for the Israeli and Galbadrakh aded a new line to her already long prize list.

The first bronze medal contest saw Maria Siderot (POR), 5th last week in Tbilisi, and the bronze medallist of the last Baku Grand Slam, Noa Minsker (ISR) facing for a place on the podium. A first shido was awarded to Minsker, just before she scored a beautiful waza-ari with a drop-seoi-nage technique. With a second shido given to the Israeli, the situation started to be a little critical as a third penalty would mean disqualification despite the waza-ari but ultimately Minsker could contain Siderot’s assaults and win her third bronze medal on the occasion of a Grand Prix.

In the second bronze medal bout, Aisha Gurbanli (AZE) was opposed to Sabina Giliazova (RUS). With a drop-morose-seoi-nage, Gurbanli scored the first waza-ari of the contest on the edge of the competition area. But Giliazova evened the score a few seconds later. Both athletes then successively tried to score to take the lead of a very dynamic bout and after a failed attempt from Gurbanli, Giliazova could conclude on the floor with a shime-waza technique for ippon.

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