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Favourite Marie Eve Gahie charges to gold for France
31 Mar 2018 19:05
At the Grand Prix in Tbilisi Marie Eve Gahie of France conquered former world number one Kelita Zupancic (CAN) to win her first IJF title since 2016. The 21-year-old matched the result of her teammate Clarisse Agbegnenou as France won both women’s gold medals on day two.
Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Gahie sealed her hat-trick of Grand Prix titles when a failed attack from Zupancic left her exposed on the ground and the French fighter was quick to apply the hold down for 20 seconds, ippon and Tbilisi Grand Prix gold.
In the first semi-final Gahie defeated Düsseldorf Grand Slam bronze medallist Szaundra Diedrich (GER) with a huge makikomi effort for ippon to advance into the gold medal contest. In the second semi-final Rome European Open bronze medallist Carola Paissoni (ITA) fell to Zupancic by a waza-ari score in a contest which went the distance.
Silver medallists Zupancic beat Gahie last week. “I’m happy to be back on the podium! A medal is always a positive thing. Consistency matters in this sport.” 28th ranked Zupancic, was defeated by ippon against French Marie-Eve Gahié, currently ranked 4th in the world. “I threw her, but then I put myself in a bad position,” explained the Ontarian, who won against the same opponent last weekend at the New York Open.
The first bronze medal was awarded to Paissoni after Hohhot Grand Prix bronze medallist Natascha Ausma (NED) was penalised for the third and final time for going out of the competition area. World number 52 Paissoni had surprising success with her gripping as Ausma failed to establish any rhythm and had to settle for fifth-place.
The second bronze medal was won by 17-year-old European Youth Olympic Festival winner Mariam Tchanturia (GEO) after a nail-biting showdown against Diedrich. Georgia’s Cadet World Championships bronze medallist became Georgia’s youngest ever medallist on the IJF World Judo Tour, beating Beka Gviniashvili who took gold in 2014 at the age of 18. Tchanturia will never forget the moment she won her first IJF World Judo Tour medal at home in Tbilisi and nor will those who witnessed it as the fans played their part with chants of “Mariam, Mariam” in golden score. Both judoka were physically spent but Tchanturia never backed down and forced a third shido against Diedrich who let the medal slip from her grasp.
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