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Spanish lightweights inspired by competition in Baku
10 May 2019 14:40
At the first day of the Grand Slam in Baku the Spanish team battles for the gold in a surprising category U48kg. Although Julia Figueroa dominates the class for years, new kids on the block have arrived and this time Laura Martinez Abelenda reached the final where she will battle for gold against Figueroa. Abelenda who was always so close to a medal at various age levels, now breaks through the barriers with a victory over Catarina Costa of Portugal.
Figueroa was able to defeat Maria Siderot (POR) who became the surprising winner of a pool led by Ami Kondo, but she lost to Gabiela Chibana of Brazil who got caught by Siderot who reached the semi final. Figueroa defeated Melanie Clement, the winner in Tbilisi. Laura Martinez Abelenda can become the youngest ever winner of an IJF Judo World Tour event. The youngest was Nikoloz Sherazadishvili in Cancun in 2017 aged 21.
For Spain also Mireia Lapuerta Comas (46) and Cinta Garcia Mesa (68) are in the top 100 of the World Ranking.
Less surprising is the final U52kg between French Amandine Buchard and Japanese 2017 World Champion Ai Shishime. Buchard won the semi final against Eleudis Valentim (BRA), Shishime defeated Gefen Primo (ISR). It’s 1-1 in head2heads.
World Champion Tsukasa Yoshida reached the final U57kg against Rafaela Silva, also not a big surprise. Yoshida defeated Silva three times previously.
The final for men U60kg is between Temur Nozadze of Georgia against Felipe Kitadai, the second Brazilian in the final. Paris winner Denis Vieru of Moldova reached the final U66kg and will battle with Nijat Shikhalizada, the first home finalist in Baku. Shikhalizada leads 2-0 but found the key to success this year.
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Barry Oudshoorn (NED)