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Teenager Koga Wakana captures gold in Montreal
6 Jul 2019 09:05
Japanese judoka Koga Wakana captured the gold medal at the Grand Prix in Montreal U48kg. 18-Year old Koga was not a favorite at the start of the day. It must be said that she had a glorious opponent in the semi-final as she was opposed to Paula Pareto (ARG), who came to Montreal only for gold. But the young Japanese, whose only glories to date were two gold medals won in continental cups (cadets and juniors), was not afraid and won against the Olympic champion in the golden score to reach the last match of the day.
In the final Koga was opposed to the bronze medalist of the last Baku Grand Slam, the Portuguese Catarina Costa.
The first half of the final seemed to be well balanced, none of the athletes being able to take the lead and perfectly neutralizing each other with their end-of-sleeve gripping. If a first waza-ari was attributed to the Japanese after she executed a low o-uchi-gari, the video refereeing canceled the score and Koga and Costa entered the golden score. Is is only after almost four minutes of golden score that Costa was penalized with a first shido for passivity and after 4 minutes and 16 seconds that Koga eventually score a waza-ari with a reverse seoi-nage.
The first bronze medal contest opposed the second Argentinian athlete of the category, Keisy Perafan (ARG) and the winner of the 2019 Tel Aviv Grand Prix, Shira Rishony (ISR). After thirty seconds, Rishony was the first in action as she scored a waza-ari with a low shoulder movement. Perafan had several occasions to conclude on the floor with some strong armlock attempts, but it is the Israeli who scored a second waza-ari to put an end to the bout and win her ninth medal in a Grand Prix.
The second bronze medal contest opposed the 2018 Antalya Grand Prix bronze medallist, Gulkader Senturk (TUR) and Paula Pareto (ARG). The danger first came from the Turkish side as Senturk used her longer arms and legs to try a Yoko-tomoe-nage for no-score. Half way to the end, Pareto was penalized with a first shido for passivity. The Turkish seemed to dominate the contest, but as great champion as she is, Pareto scored a precious waza-ari with a shoulder movement, only a few seconds before the end.
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Alim Balkarov (RUS)