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Germany’s Dominic Ressel wins first IJF gold medal
28 Jul 2018 20:45
Dominic Ressel (GER) achieved his first IJF World Judo Tour gold medal to mount pressure on his teammate and current world champion Alexander Wieczerzak (GER). Düsseldorf Grand Slam bronze medallist Ressel, 24, faced Agadir Grand Prix silver medallist Matthias Casse (BEL) in the U81kg final and both men were bidding for a first IJF gold medal on the senior stage.
Casse, 21, was slow to react on the ground to Ressel who applied the shime-waza with force and speed to make the Belgian submit. Wieczerzak has not fought on the IJF World Judo Tour since his shock win at the World Championships last year but is expected to compete at the Budapest Grand Prix in two weeks time. Ressel has now surely done enough to receive a call-up for his first World Championships while Casse is still learning and is regarded as one of the best prospects in the sport.
In the first semi-final world number 64 Alexios Ntanatsidis (GRE) pulled out injured after picking up a second shido against Ressel. In the second semi-final European bronze medallist Antonio Esposito (ITA) fell to Casse after four and half minutes of added time. The young Belgian rolled his opponent over onto his back for a waza-ari score to seal a place in the -81kg final.
The first bronze medal was won by Tbilisi Grand Prix silver medallist Anri Egutidze (POR) who stopped 2017 Zagreb Grandd Prix bronze medallist Esposito from matching his result from a year ago. The world number 13 from Portugal prevailed by a waza-ari score which was the only score of the four minute contest. Egutidze has now won three Grand Prix medals this year and is growing into being a familiar sight in the awarding ceremonies.
The second bronze medal went to Paris Grand Slam winner Fujiwara Sotaro (JPN) as Ntanatsidis could not take part due to injury.
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