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Ana Velensek grabs first heavyweight win
8 Oct 2017 16:35
Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Anamari Velensek of Slovenia defeated last year’s Tashkent winner Gulzhan Issanova (KAZ) to capture her first gold medal in the heavyweight category.
Slovenian Velensek moved up to the heaviest weight in women’s judo after the Olympics and took bronze at the Cancun Grand Prix this year which gave an indication of her immediate candidacy as a potential force at her new weight. Issanova fell short in the final and in her bid to win the event for the year second year in a row after an insipid display which ended with her receiving a third shido for passivity.
In the first semi-final Issanova held down Rakhima Yuldoshova (UZB) for 20 seconds and ippon with a powerful display to move her one step away from retaining his 2016 title. In the second semi-final Velensek submitted Cancun Grand Prix bronze medallist Sarah Adlington (GBR) with a clinical piece of shime-waza on the ground.
The first bronze medal was awarded to 31-year-old double Grand Prix bronze medallist Adlington who marginally outworked 2016 Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Daria Karpova (RUS) in a contest which was spared from golden score when the Russian received her marching orders after a third penalty for passivity with seven seconds left. The second bronze medal was won by German European Cup bronze medallist Anzhela Gasparian (RUS) who now has a 100% medal-winning record at Grand Prix events after medalling at her first one in Tashkent. Gasparian launched Yuldoshova of Uzbekistan with an uchi-mata for ippon and a memorable debut.
2015 World championships runner-up Ana Velensek won Olympic bronze medal in 2016 in Rio while being injured. She was World Junior and European U23 Championships medallist and bronze winner with Slovenia at the European Games. She won the World Military Games in 2015 and won more than 20 World Cup medals U78kg, in 2017 she made a successful debut in the heavyweight category.
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