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Marie-Eve Gahie takes precious gold in Zagreb
28 Jul 2018 20:30
Marie Eve Gahie of France won her first encounter with Düsseldorf Grand Slam winner Ono Yoko of Japan to capture U70kg gold in Zagreb. While world champion Arai Chizuru (JPN) is preparing to defend her title in Azerbaijan, Ono was handed an opportunity to impress but had to settle for silver.
Gahie followed up on her country’s World Cup win by sending the French flag to the rafters at Arena Zagreb in the home of the nation of World Cup runners-up Croatia. Ono tried to create an opening on the ground to employ her highly-regarded ne-waza but was firmly blocked by Tbilisi Grand Prix winner Gahie who celebrated her fourth Grand Prix title after scoring a waza-ari in golden score with a cutting ashi-waza attack.
In the first semi-final Ono defeated Agadir Grand Prix winner Assmaa Niang (MAR) by ippon to progress into the gold medal contest in the evening session. In the second semi-final European silver medallist Sally Conway (GBR) lost out to Gahie by two waza-ari scores.
The first bronze medal was awarded to Conway who rushed past Hohhot Grand Prix winner Sanne Van Dijke (NED) in just 42 seconds. Olympic bronze medallist Conway submitted her Dutch rival on the ground with an armlock to secure her place on the podium and will now break into the world’s top 10 with the World Championships just 53 days away.
The second bronze medal was won by Niang who claimed her eighth Grand Prix medal by coming from behind to conquer 2012 Rio Grand Slam silver medallist Amanda Oliveira (BRA) in golden score. Oliveira took the lead in their first meeting with a nidan ko-soto-gari for a waza-ari but the four-time African Championshipships winner fought back and restored parity with a waza-ari of her own from a sutemi-waza movement. Niang countered a ura-nage with a ko-uchi-gari for ippon after 32 seconds of additional time before posing with the young fans for pictures and signing autographs.
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Patrick Abbink (NED)
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