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Successful comeback for Jaana Sundberg battling for gold
20 Mar 2015 18:10
The older and more experienced judoka seemed to have an advantage. World number 13 Jaana Sundberg of Finland made a successful return to the IJF World Judo Tour after an injury –ravaged end to 2014. The hard-working Finn triumphed against the ageless Belgian Ilse Heylen who turns 39 on Saturday but continues to defy the odds as she looks on course to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympics at the age of 40.
World number 13 Jaana Sundberg (FIN) made a successful return to the IJF World Judo Tour after an injury –ravaged end to 2014. The hard-working Finn triumphed against the ageless Ilse Heylen (BEL) who turns 39 on Saturday but continues to defy the odds as she looks on course to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympics at the age of 40. Sundberg took the lead with a yuko after 25 seconds as she held her opponent with a yoko-shiho-gatame for 13 seconds and that proved to be the only score of the absorbing four minute contest.
In the first semi-final 20-year-old Odette Giuffrida (ITA) lost out to fit-again Sundberg after a plucky effort as we come to expect from the supremely skilled young Italian. Giuffrida started well with a yuko but let the contest slip away in the closing seconds as Sundberg threw her rival with an uchi-mata for a waza-ari.
Sundberg: " It was an important result now as I suffered some injuries before. It was a good tactical fight. Not great judo but stable and it was good enough. The World Championships for me are now the most important for this year."
In the second semi-final veteran Heylen (BEL) was successful against Jeju Grand Prix bronze medallist Laura GOMEZ (ESP) who she confidently subdued by ippon.
The first bronze medal was clinched by GOMEZ who returned to winning ways by beating Tashkent Grand Prix silver medallist ADIYASAMBUU Tsolmon (MGL). GOMEZ showed her superior conditioning as she outworked her opponent to seal a place on the podium and more success for her in-form team. The second bronze medal was won by GIUFFRIDA who lived dangerously as she amassed three shidos but protected her yuko score - the only score of the four minute contest - to defeat Jeju Grand Prix bronze medallist Gili COHEN (ISR).
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Renee Lucht (GER)