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Korean An Baul wins second Grand Slam title
10 Feb 2018 18:30
Olympic silver medallist An Baul of Korea followed up on his bronze medal from December’s Tokyo Grand Slam by topping the podium at the first Grand Slam of 2018. Former world champion An, 23, squared off against Tokyo Grand Slam silver medallist Maruyama Joshiro (JPN) in the U66kg final with the Asian rivals tied in their head-to-head series 1:1 before today.
Maruyama is a protégé of Japanese great Hosokawa Shinji at Tenri University with his older brother Maruyama Goki who campaigns in the -81kg category. As Hosokawa looked on from the crowd, there was little of note in the regulation time as both judoka were tentative and aware of their respective skillsets. A third shido for passivity against the Japanese sent An to the gold medal position on the podium at a Grand Slam and for the first time since Abu Dhabi’s own Grand Slam in 2015.
In the first semi-final An put Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist Isoda Norihito (JPN) under pressure from the outset and the Japanese picked up three shidos in regulation time to receive hansoku-make as the South Korean progressed into the final. In the second semi-final Maruyama bested 2016 Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Kilian Le Blouch (FRA) when the Frenchman was penalised for the third time in golden score.
In the first bronze medal contest Le Blouch lost out to European Games bronze medallist Sebastian Seidl (GER) by a waza-ari score after 35 seconds of golden score.
The second bronze medal went to Isoda who defeated African champion Houd Zourdani (ALG) by ippon at the halfway mark. Isoda has now won two Grand Slam bronze medals back-to-back and will jump up the rankings from his modest position of 65th in the world at the start of play in Paris.
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