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World champion Chizuru Arai grabs sixth Grand Slam title
World champion Chizuru Arai grabs sixth Grand Slam title
11 May 2019 18:35
Mark Pickering - IJF
IJF Emanuele Di Feliciantonio / International Judo Federation

Two-time and reigning world champion Arai Chizuru of Japan won her sixth Grand Slam gold medal at the expense of Tel Aviv Grand Prix gold medallist Anna Bernholm (SWE). Arai, who is now undefeated on the IJF circuit since May 2018, fought like a world champion and will be the overwhelming favourite in Tokyo this August as she bids for a third consecutive title.

Arai threw Bernholm with a o-soto-gari for a waza-ari score and held down the Swedish talent for 10 seconds for Baku gold.

In the first semi-final Arai saw off two-time world medallist Maria Bernabeu (ESP) by ippon with 47 seconds left to advance to the final as widely expected. In the second semi-final World Judo Masters bronze medallist Michaela Polleres (AUT) was second best against Bernholm who prevailed by ippon.

The first bronze medal was awarded to European Championships bronze medallist Gemma Howell (GBR) who fought past Polleres for a place on the podium. Wolverhampton Judo Club product Howell controlled the contest and won by a waza-ari score to win her first Grand Slam medal.     

The second bronze medal was won by Bernabeu after Antalya Grand Prix bronze medallist Miriam Butkereit (GER) was given her marching orders in golden score for a third shido for passivity.