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Maria Portela again strong in Russia and back as world number one
18 Mar 2018 15:30
World number two Maria Portela of Brazil powered to victory in Russia to take over the world number one spot at U70kg for the first time in her career which is thriving of late. Portela, 30, won on the Grand Slam stage before in Moscow, Russia, in 2012 and is something of a Russia specialist having won the Masters in St. Petersburg in December.
The Brazilian powerhouse held down Grand Slam debutant Taisia Kireeva (RUS) for 20 seconds for ippon to complete her dramatic rise to the summit of the weight category.
In the first semi-final Portela threw Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Gercsak Szabina (HUN) for ippon with a beautiful de-ashi barai. In the second semi-final Kireeva tapped out 19-year-old Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist Tanaka Shiho (JPN) with a juji-gatame to guarantee a place on the medal podium at home.
The first bronze medal was won by Zagreb Grand Prix winner Barbara Timo (BRA) who outscored Tanaka with a waza-ari which was the only time the scorebard was called upon. Timo had graced a Grand Slam podium once before back in 2016 in Abu Dhabi with the same colour medal and now will now hope to be called on for the remaining two Grand Slams in 2018.
The second bronze medal contest was won by World Judo Masters silver medallist Barbara Matic (CRO) who thwarted Gercsak by the maximum score from a seoi-nage after 59 seconds.
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Patrick Abbink (NED)