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Austria’s Unterwurzacher bounces back after Worlds blip
7 Oct 2017 18:00
Austrian middleweight Kathrin Unterwurzacher returned to form in Tashkent with a sixth Grand Prix gold medal to go some way to making amends for her early exit at August’s World Championships. The world number three and European Championships bronze medallist won all three of her contests on Saturday without giving away a single score to register her country’s first medal in the competition.
Germany-based Hannah Martin (USA) took her second silver medal in Tashkent after being held down in a mune-gatame pin for 20 seconds.
In the first semi-final Unterwurzacher bested Ekaterinburg Grand Slam silver medallist Ekaterina Valkova (RUS) in added time. It was honours even after four minutes with no scores registered but the Austrian needed only 12 seconds to throw with a ko-soto-gake for ippon in golden score. In the second semi-final MARTIN held down Baku Grand Slam bronze medallist Busra Katipoglu (TUR) with a powerful kesa-gatame. Martin had specialised in ne-waza in the first session and, with a determination to develop all areas of her skillset, looked energised and highly-motivated.
The first bronze medal contest was won by former Tyumen Grand Slam winner Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard (CAN) who held down Katipoglu with a sankaku-gatame for ippon. The last IJF medal for Beauchemin-Pinard was in 2015 at the Tyumen Grand Slam when she took bronze but it’s only taken the Canadian two weeks into her new category to medal on the IJF World Judo Tour. Beauchemin-Pinard moved up a week ago in Zagreb maybe in anticipation of the incoming former Japan international Christa Deguchi - who will debut for Canada at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam in three weeks – not to mention world number seven Jessica Klimkait (CAN) also being in the -57kg category.
The second bronze medal was won by Valkova who defeated three-time Grand Prix bronze medallist Andreja Leski (SLO) in golden score. Valkova took the lead with a waza-ari from a sumi-gaeshi after 20 seconds and looked to wrap up the victory on the ground in osaekomi but crucially lost her position and was turned into a holddown by Leski. The Russian escaped after 17 seconds which was enough for a waza-ari for Leski and parity on the scoreboard remained to force golden score. Valkova tried several more sacrifice throws but failed to score until the two minute mark when she threw with a yoko-tomoe-nage for a medal-winning waza-ari score.
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David Arakelyan (BEL)
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