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First Grand Slam title for Takeshi Sasaki

24 Nov 2018 15:20

 by Mark Pickering - IJF    ejudo
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Sasaki Takeshi of Japan was the last man standing for Japan in the U81kg category as he beat Budapest Grand Prix silver medallist Kohara Kenya (JPN) in the final. The Japanese pair cancelled each other out in regulation time but Sasaki took control in golden score and held down his colleague for 20 seconds and ippon to blow Japan’s battle for Tokyo 2020 wide open in a category which has not always served them well on the biggest stages in the sport.

In the first semi-final Hohhot Grand Prix winner Sasaki thwarted Zagreb Grand Prix bronze medallist Anri Egutidze (POR) as he countered the Portuguese for a waza-ari and added a second with a hold down from a mune-gatame. In the second semi-final Kohara downed Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Vladimir Zoloev (KGZ) by ippon from an o-soto-gari after one minute to book an all-Japanese final.

The first bronze medal was won by former world champion and Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Nagase Takanori (JPN). Zoloev was penalised for passivity to gift the Japanese his seventh Grand Slam medal and first IJF podium since his 2016 victory at the Tokyo Grand Slam.                                                         

The second bronze medal went to world bronze medallist Vedat Albayrak (TUR) who held firm against Egutidze to prevail by a waza-ari score. It was a soft score to give away by the Portuguese who was rolled over the only score of the contest.

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