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Japanese newcomer Kenzo Tagawa tastes his first IJF gold
23 Feb 2018 20:55
Kenzo Tagawa of Japan stamped his name on the IJF World Judo Tour in Düsseldorf by pipping judo idol and European Champion Georgii Zantaraia (UKR) to -66kg gold. World number 205 Tagawa, 21, attained IJF gold for first time on his first Grand Slam assignment outside of Japan as he held firm against human highlight reel Zantaraia who was at his mercurial best for the majority of the day.
In golden score Kenzo Tagawa loaded his Ukrainian foe onto his hip and over for a waza-ari score in the finest moment of his burgeoning career.
In the first semi-final Tagawa used the momentum of Yakub Shamilov (RUS) to throw for a match-winning waza-ari score in added time. In the second semi-final Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Dovdon Altansukh (MGL) was dispatched by an in-form Zantaraia. The Ukranian ace took the lead with a ura-nage and wrapped up a comprehensive win with an o-goshi.
The first bronze medal was won by world number 126 Battogtokh Erkhembayar (MGL) who earned his first IJF medal at the expense of his countryman and 2016 Asian Championships winner Dovdon. Rank outsider Battogtokh pinned down his older and more accomplished teammate in osaekomi to seal his spot on the podium.
The second bronze medal went to World Judo Masters bronze medallist Baruch Shmailov (ISR) who beat Shamilov in golden score. In a contest that pitted the world number six from Israel against the world number 15 from Russia, both judoka gave their all in a battle of attrition. Shmailov led with a waza-ari from a modified kata-guruma before his adversary restored level terms with a sode-tsurikomi-goshi. Shmailov countered an error from Shamilov in added time as his weak sutemi-waza attempt saw him finish up underneath his opponent who held on for 20 seconds and ippon.
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