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Conway stuns returning world number one Polling in reverse of 2014 final
9 May 2015 17:35
Zagreb Grand Prix silver medallist Sally CONWAY (GBR) enjoyed sweet revenge on Saturday at the expense of returning world number one Kim POLLING (NED) who was making her first appearance on the IJF World Judo Tour this year. World number eight CONWAY wore Grand Slam gold for the first time by defeating POLLING with 10 seconds to go in a remarkable finish in Baku.
POLLING led through a yuko score and was penalised moments later for going out of the area. The conditioning and work ethic of CONWAY is always evident and today she shocked POLLING with an ouchi-gari for ippon in the closing seconds.
CONWAY said: “I am really, really happy with the result. I concentrated on every fight until the end and it paid off. In the final I did what I needed to do, I kept my focus and I closed the distance but I was still surprised when I won with 10 seconds left.”
In the first semi-final contest POLLING gave 18-year-old Tbilisi Grand Prix bronze medallist Marie Eve GAHIE (FRA) a thorough workout as she used her full arsenal to halt the run of the French teenager. POLLING led with a tomoe-nage which earned a yuko before winning by ippon. GAHIE will take same valuable lessons from her defeat while POLLING was alert to the threat of facing a relative newcomer to the tour. In the second semi-final Qingdao Grand Prix bronze medallist Bernadette GRAF (AUT) was beaten by CONWAY. GRAF, who took silver at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, was denied another Grand Slam final by CONWAY who secured a timely return to the podium.
The first bronze medal was claimed by GRAF who bested Zagreb Grand Prix winner Linda BOLDER (ISR). GRAF maintained Austria’s strong form on day two as she was well in control against reigning Paris Grand Slam gold medallist BOLDER who fought and lost to POLLING for the first time in the quarter-finals. GRAF registered a full house of scores as the yuko, waza-ari and ippon columns were all penetrated once as BOLDER was second best. The second bronze medal contest was won by GAHIE who had the measure of the seasoned Pan American Championships bronze medallist Maria PORTELA (BRA). GAHIE was unfazed by the Grand Slam stage and her physical opponent as she produced a waza-ari score to break the deadlock and never looked back. The French teen secured a superb bronze medal by holding down PORTELA with a kesa-gatame to wear Grand Slam silverware at the tender age of 18.
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