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Golden relief for Anna Bernholm in Tel Aviv
25 Jan 2019 19:00
Swedish Anna Bernholm won her first Grand Prix title with a calculated performance against Junior World Championships gold medallist Alice Bellandi (ITA). The experience of the Swede told as Bellandi was overzealous and put everything into a hip technique but Bernholm blocked and countered to win by ippon in just 38 seconds.
The Osaka Grand Slam silver medallist from Sweden will now break into the world’s top 10 while Bellandi can be content with claiming her first senior IJF medal at this early stage of her career.
In the first semi-final Bellandi saw off world number 39 Emilie Sook (DEN) who was penalised with her third shido in golden score which sent the Italian into the final and the Danish judoka into a fight for bronze. In the second semi-final Bernholm defeated world number 33 Sara Rodriguez (ESP) after 75 seconds of golden score by ippon.
The first bronze medal was awarded to World Judo Masters bronze medallist Sanne Van Dijke (NED) who produced a buzzer-beating score in the very last second to surpass Rodriguez. Van Dijke clinched her sixth Grand Prix medal just as the contest looked set for golden score as the Dutch star won her country’s third medal of the competition.
The second bronze medal was won by world number 34 Megan Fletcher (IRL) who earned a much-needed prize to reinvigorate her qualification bid for Tokyo 2020. Team Bath judoka Fletcher, who beat former world number one Kelita Zupancic (CAN) in round two, defeated Sook in golden score with a holddown and had to fight back the tears as she left the mat. Former Team GB international Megan’s interest in the Tel Aviv Grand Prix is far from over though as her younger brother and world number 14 Ben Fletcher will campaign on Sunday in the U100kg category.
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