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Majlinda Kelmendi powers to gold in 36 seconds final
24 Jan 2019 17:45
Rio 2016 Olympic champion and two-time world champion Majlinda Kelmendi of Kosovo won her 10th Grand Prix gold medal with a unstoppable showing in Tel Aviv. Kelmendi threw former Grand Slam winner Gili Cohen (ISR) twice in 36 seconds, scoring a waza-ari each time, to show the world that she means business this year and is getting back to her best after returning from a long injury lay-off in October.
In the first semi-final former Grand Slam winner Gili Cohen (ISR) dismissed her teenage teammate Primo by ippon. In the second semi-final three-time world medallist Andreea Chitu (ROU) was second best against Kelmendi who prevailed after 14 seconds of golden score by ippon.
The first bronze medal was awarded to Chitu who launched ne-waza ace Alesya Kuznetsova (RUS) for ippon after just 29 seconds. Romania’s Chitu rushed to victory with a comprehensive win from a koshi-guruma for the maximum score to provide her country with their first IJF medal of the new season.
The second bronze medal was won by world number 44 Fabienne Kocher (SUI) who absorbed all 18-year-old hotshot Primo had to offer before edging past the home judoka by a waza-ari score. Swiss judoka Kocher scored with 57 seconds left on the clock, and against the run of play, but showed her shrewd tactics to defend her advantage and secure the final place on the U52kg podium.
Judo wise, the only one who could really be described as untouchable today was Maljinda Kelmendi. She showed that she is on the way back to her very best form, winning all of her fights with beautiful koshi-waza. Her strength, combined with her hip movements couldn’t be stopped.
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Dmitri Lepp (EST)