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Surprising Allan Kuwabara stars for Brazil

7 Oct 2019 02:35

 Mark Pickering - IJF    IJF Gabriela Sabau / International Judo Federation

Grand Slam rookie and world number 202 Allan Kuwabara of Brazil sensationally claimed his first Grand Slam title at his first attempt as he convincingly beat Brazilian number one and Pan American Championships silver medallist Eric Takabatake (BRA).

The 27-year-old, who was only selected for the Grand Slam a fortnight ago, was an unexpected finalist and was not content with just contesting the gold medal contest as he threw Takabatake with a majestic ippon from a tani-otoshi in one of the biggest upsets in IJF World Judo Tour history.

In the first semi-final outsider Kuwabara shocked former European champion Islam Yashuev (RUS) by ippon.

In the second semi-final Takabatake beat Junior World Championships bronze medallist Renan Torres (BRA) in a crucial win that could have Tokyo 2020 ramifications. The veteran could barely contain his pleasure at beating his compatriot at home as the host nation took over the men’s lightest weight category on day one.

The first bronze medal was won by world number nine Francisco Garrigos (ESP) who found a way past Torres after 82 seconds of added time by a waza-ari score. The Spaniard countered a morote-seoi-nage for the smallest score to win his fourth Grand Slam medal.    

The second bronze medal went to Yashuev after a thriller with world number 90 and Grand Slam newcomer Rodrigo Costa Lopes (POR). While the home crowd were rooting for the Portuguese judoka, Yashuev kept his composure and salvaged a place on the podium to open his country’s medal account in Brazil. Yashuev led by a waza-ari score before Lopes fought back and restored parity. The Russian saved his best attack until the closing seconds as he hooked in for a ko-uchi-gake to win by ippon with 15 seconds left on the clock.   

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  • Allan Kuwabara (BRA) - Grand Slam Brasilia (2019, BRA) - © IJF Gabriela Sabau, International Judo Federation
  • Allan Kuwabara (BRA) - Grand Slam Brasilia (2019, BRA) - © IJF Gabriela Sabau, International Judo Federation
  • Allan Kuwabara (BRA), Eric Takabatake (BRA), Francisco Garrigós (ESP), Islam Yashuev (RUS) - Grand Slam Brasilia (2019, BRA) - © IJF Gabriela Sabau, International Judo Federation

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