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Career-best outing for Frenchman Kilian Le Blouch
15 Mar 2019 16:05
Kilian Le Blouch of France topped an IJF Grand Slam medal podium for the first time at the expense of world number 130 Isa Isaev (RUS) who was unable to win gold for the hosts at the Grand Slam of Ekaterinburg.
Both judoka were in unchartered territory as they graced a Grand Slam final for the first time and it was the world number 46 and Rome European Open gold medallist from France who had the decisive say as he caught the home judoka with an o-uchi-gari for a waza-ari score.
In the first semi-final Isaev benefitted from an error-strewn display by Antalya Grand Prix winner Bagrati Niniashvili (GEO) who was disqualified after receiving three shidos. In the second semi-final Zagreb Grand Prix winner Tal Flicker (ISR) was second best against Le Blouch.
The first bronze medal was won by Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Baruch Shmailov (ISR) who conquered his teammate Flicker. The latter was disqualified for his third shido after three minutes of golden score for passivity. The second bronze medal went to Niniashvili who stunned Tunis Grand Prix silver medallist Fujisaka Taroh (JPN) by throwing the Japanese on two occasions. Georgia’s Niniashvili launched Fujisaka with a front uchi-mata for a waza-ari and added a second to leave the Japanese reeling.
The winner reacted to the IJF: “I won five contest and it was very hard especially the final in the golden, to win with o-uchi-gari, so I am very happy, it’s very cool.
It was difficult to fight with a Russian opponent, as the crowd supported him and I had to keep my concentration. It’s easier to win a medal in the Grand Slam in Paris. Now I had to keep my concentration for the contest and I gave 1000% in this competition."
Le Blouch: "I am a very physical fighter because I practice in cycling and running to serve my judo. It’s very important for me as I like the fitness that helps my judo. This is the first time gold at this level. I will realise the importance of the medal tomorrow.
I won in Lisbon and Rome and now in Ekaterinburg, so I don’t know the plan for the future. Stephane Traineau will determine the plan and probably Baku or Antalya, I don’t know yet.”
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