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Perfectionist Sarah Asahina rues manner of her victory but keeps winning

3 Dec 2017 11:45

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

Openweight world champion Asahina Sarah (JPN) won her home Grand Slam for the second year in a row to extend her lead at the helm of the +78kg rankings. Asahina, 21, won Grand Slam gold medal number four by outmaneuvering 17-year-old Junior world champion Sone Akira (JPN) who conceded three shidos.

The world number one was unhappy with her lack of ippon judo in the final but already has a tight grasp on the category both domestically and internationally and is only going to become stronger with more experience. World number 20 Sone could still compete at the junior level but after a silver at the Tokyo Grand Slam, has shown that she has outgrown that stage and is already a dependable member of her country’s senior setup.

In the first semi-final Asahina threw three-time Grand Slam winner Inamori Nami (JPN) with a last-ditch harai-makikomi with one second left for a waza-ari score. In the second semi-final Sone proved too strong for world bronze medallist Kim Minjeong (KOR) as the Japanese teen held down her opponent with a mune-gatame for 20 seconds.

The first bronze medal was claimed by Kim who overwhelmed Zagreb Grand Prize bronze medallist Anne Fatoumata M Bairo (FRA). Kim built up an unassailable lead with three waza-ari scores before holding down the French judoka for ippon as South Korea fought back on the last day of the Tokyo Grand Slam.

The second bronze medal contest was won by double world silver medallist Maria Suelen Altheman (BRA) who edged past home judoka Inamori by a waza-ari score.

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  • Sarah Asahina (JPN) - Grand Slam Tokyo (2017, JPN) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation
  •  JUDO FOR ALL (IJF) - Grand Slam Tokyo (2017, JPN) - © Mongolian JudoHeroes
  • Sarah Asahina (JPN), Akira Sone (JPN), Maria Suelen Altheman (BRA), Min-Jeong Kim (KOR) - Grand Slam Tokyo (2017, JPN) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation

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