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Sagi Muki makes mark in new category to send Israel top of the table
7 Oct 2017 19:35
Israelian Sagi Muki won gold for the first time in his new weight category with a competent display in the U81kg category despite not reaching his usual levels of spectacular ippon judo. Muki, who was fifth at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the U73kg category, faced former Asian Championships winner Nyamsuren Dagvasuren (MGL) in the final in a first meeting between the pair.
The former European champion was one of the most explosive judoka at the lower weight but looked more cautious and far less inventive but still offered a sturdy defence. In his fourth event up at -81kg, Muki threw Nyamsuren with a utsuri-goshi for a waza-ari after two and half minutes of golden score.
In the first semi-final Nyamsuren forced Kamoliddin Rasulov (UZB) to submit to book a place in the final. After 69 seconds of golden score the Mongolian trapped Rasulov on the ground and the hold was so tight that the exhausted home judoka elected to submit. In the second semi-final MUKI left it late to impose himself against Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix bronze medallist Fagan Guluzada (AZE). MUKI had to deal with an attacking onslaught from Guluzada and absorbed everything the Azeri had to offer, albeit with a few scares, and showed his super conditioning in the final minute to score a waza-ari from an osoto-gari with 14 seconds left on the clock.
The first bronze medal was won by Guluzada over world number 126 Bekzhan Abdualiyev (KAZ). Azeri Guluzada offered little in regulation time with the Kazakh doing the bulk of the work. In golden score Guluzada was still in contention and countered Abdualiyev with ashi-waza for bronze and high fived a group of young fans in the front row after the leaving the tatami.
The second bronze medal remained in Tashkent as an all-Uzbekistan clash had the crowd out of their seats throughout the contest. Former Asian Championships silver medallist Sharofiddin Boltaboev (UZB) was the only judoka to dent the scoreboard as he scored a waza-ari with a seoi-nage as Rasulov finished fifth.
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Martina Lanini (ITA)
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