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Russia’s Niiaz Bilalov produces perfect outing for first Grand Prix gold medal
15 Oct 2018 10:05
Niiaz Bilalov of Russia won all four of his contests by ippon to win his first Grand Prix title. The Abu Dhabi Grand Slam winner from Russia defeated Ekaterinburg Grand Slam bronze medallist Laurin Boehler (AUT) after 44 seconds of golden score with a ko-uchi-gake which earned ippon.
The Austrian walked onto the technique and immediately regretted his mistake while Düsseldorf Grand Slam bronze medallist Bilalov solidified his place inside the world’s top 20 and could break into the top 16 in time to challenge at the season-ending World Judo Masters in December.
In the first semi-final former Junior European Championships gold medallist Aaron Fara (AUT) was humbled by teammate Boehler. The battle between Austria’s two big throwers went into added time and Boehler seized the initiative as he shook his opponent with an o-soto-gari attack and drove forwards to earn a waza-ari score after 22 seconds of golden score. In the second semi-final Olympic bronze medallist Cyrille Maret (FRA) fell to Bilalov by two waza-ari scores as the Russian secured a spot in the final and France’s leading man dropped down into the bronze medal contest.
The first bronze medal was won by former Paris Grand Slam silver medallist Rafael Buzacarini (BRA) against Maret. Brazil’s Buzacarini prevailed in golden score when Frenchman Maret was penalised with his third shido for passivity. Buzacarini improved to eight Grand Prix medals and was clearly lifted by the medal exploits of his teammates on day three.
The second bronze medal went to Fara who rushed past Pan American Championships gold medallist Leonardo Goncalves (BRA) in 31 seconds. The Tunis Grand Prix bronze medallist from Brazil had failed to do his homework on his Austrian rival who won by the maximum score from a front uchi-mata. World number 33 Fara opened his IJF World Judo Tour medal account in style while Goncalves is still working to establish himself at the elite level and also has a bright future on the international circuit.
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