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Shori Hamada gives herself the best birthday gift ever
25 Sep 2018 15:40
On her 28th birthday Shori Hamada (JPN) became the new world champion for women U78kg in Baku. Again Japan for gold and a great disappointment for the Dutch Guusje Steenhuis and the Netherlands that lost eight World Championships finals in a row since the last successful title for Verkerk in 2009 in Rotterdam. After a long final of nine minutes Shori Hamada won the world title after three penalties for Guusje Steenhuis.
In the final it was Shori Hamada who opened the account with a first attack after fifteen seconds and an attempt for a strangle right away. A good warning for the world number one of the Netherlands. Steenhuis had to recover and the Japanese had the best grip and stance. After three minutes Steenhuis flirted with an uchimata but no score, but a good sign. In the golden score Steenhuis came better in the match but the grip of the Japanese was still dangerous. After seven minutes still no score and a true power challenge and the energy was slipping away, Hamada took over the pace. With two penalties Steenhuis tried what she had in her body. After nine minutes Steenhuis stepped out of the area for a second time and was penalised. Hamada had beaten her once in Tokyo last year and although it was close, the Japanese won again.
Jemima Yeats-Brown fought Marhinde Verkerk in the most important contest of her life. The British has an amazing tournament. As a junior fighting U63kg she was different from the others, U70kg she was better but couldn’t get the traction in the seniors. When she stepped up to U78kg suddenly all pieces fell into the puzzle. Today the last piece should have added in her match against Verkerk. But Verkerk played it hard but Yeats-Brown didn’t mind and punched a seoi nage and almost scored wazari. Verkerk is a ne-waza expert and tried an armlock. Also Verkerk has a good seoi nage and is still in the top 10 because of her excellent technique. The tiny British again tried a sumi gaeshi on Verkerk and almost got it. In the extra time Verkerk speeded up and was more dominant than Yeats-Brown and scored wazari after five minutes by seoi nage. Yeats-Brown at least found the last piece, but Verkerk has the bronze medal.
Chinese Zhenzhao Ma won the bronze medal, a super surprise against Aleksandra Babintseva, both surprises in the medal bout. Baibintseva is the taller one and loves to have her hand on the back of Ma, but the Chinese can come with an uchi-mata. But also Babintseva has an uchi-mata, but both couldn’t score until the last minute when Ma scored but the Russian got the arm and converted with good ground work into the armlock and Ma had to tap out, bronze for Russia. The first ever medal for a Russian woman U78kg and first since medal since 2011 in another weight category as Natalia Kuziutina who is the frontrunner of Russian women’s judo. Now she has a partner in Aleksandra Babintseva. She had only won one bronze medal at an IJF event (at home in Tyumen), this one counts for real.
Guusje Steenhuis gave a great impression whole day and threw Ma Zhenzhao in 35 seconds. An uchimata did it, but Ma could have prevented it but she tried by hopping. The tall Steenhuis went on and sent the Chinese to the ground. The threw most opponents with uchimata and carried on steering with the hands. Her compatriot Marhinde Verkerk couldn’t stop Shori Hamada from her o-uchi hari in the third minute and Verkerk went over and saw her chances for a repeat title move away.
Jemima Yeats-Brown made a super impression during the day. She is aggressive and started in the repechage with the same pace and within seconds she scored via a take-over against Madeleine Malonga. Then she made a smooth transition for shime-waza and the French tapped out. Aleksandra Babintseva countered Apotekar but it was the Russian who got the close score. The Russian proceeded and Apotekar finished seventh.
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Luz Alvarez (COL)