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First Grand Prix gold medal for Japan’s Niizoe
11 Aug 2018 19:05
Saki Niizoe made sure that Japan doubled up on gold in the women’s categories on day two of the Grand Prix in Budapest as the young Japanese judoka reigned victorious against Hohhot Grand Prix gold medallist Sanne Van Dijke (NED).
Tunis Grand Prix bronze medallist Niizoe, 22, is behind world champion Arai Chizuru and Tokyo Grand Slam winner Ono Yoko in the domestic pecking order but showed her worth in Budapest with a determined display. Van Dijke did not have time to work her way into the final as the Japanese launched the Dutchwoman with her favoured uchi-mata for ippon after 25 seconds.
In the first semi-final Olympic bronze medallist Sally Conway (GBR) was thrown by Niizoe with a uchi-mata for ippon. In the second semi-final former world number one Kelita Zupancic (CAN) narrowly lost out to Van Dijke by a waza-ari score.
The first bronze medal was awarded to Zupancic who pinned down Antalya Grand Prix winner Anna Bernholm (SWE) with a sankaku-gatame for ippon.
The second bronze medal was won by Conway with her trademark ne-waza leading her to victory. Conway submitted Zagreb Grand Prix bronze medallist Assmaa Niang (MAR) in the centre of the tatami by turning over her African opponent and extending the right arm of Niang to win her fifth medal in succession.
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