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Manuel Lombardo rewards himself for five-star showing

24 Oct 2019 18:35

 Mark Pickering - IJF    IJF Gabriela Sabau / International Judo Federation

World number 10 Manuel Lombardo of Italy won all five of his contests by ippon as he charged to his first Grand Slam title. The 20-year-old outperformed former World Judo Masters winner Orkhan Safarov (AZE) in the final as the Italian scored with a ippon-seoi-nage and a modified kata-guruma respectively to win by two scores without reply.

Lombardo will now break into the world’s top 10 for the first time in his career while Safarov will be pleased and relieved in equal measure to return to an IJF medal podium for the first time since 2017 (world silver at U60kg). 

In the first semi-final Pan American Championships bronze medallist Orlando Polanco (CUB) fell to Safarov by ippon as the Azeri overcome some issues with his judogi in the preliminaries to capture a place in the gold medal contest.

In the second semi-final Olympic silver medallist An Baul (KOR) was halted by Lombardo who saw off the former world champion with an o-soto-gari for ippon.

The first bronze medal was won by An on his second IJF outing this season as he conquered Zagreb Grand Prix winner Alberto Gaitero Martin (ESP) with a seoi-nage for a waza-ari score.

The second bronze medal went to Polanco who caught the eye for Cuba as he beat seasoned campaigner and Mongolia’s household name in four-time Grand Prix winner Ganbold Kherlen (MGL). Polanco, who was competing in his first senior event outside Pan America, threw with an o-uchi-gari for a waza-ari score and pressured his Mongolian rival who picked up his third shido and received his marching orders.

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  • Orkhan Safarov (AZE), Manuel Lombardo (ITA) - Grand Slam Abu Dhabi (2019, UAE) - © IJF Gabriela Sabau, International Judo Federation
  • Orkhan Safarov (AZE), Manuel Lombardo (ITA), Ba-Ul An (KOR), Orlando Polanco (CUB) - Grand Slam Abu Dhabi (2019, UAE) - © IJF Gabriela Sabau, International Judo Federation
  • Manuel Lombardo (ITA), Orkhan Safarov (AZE) - Grand Slam Abu Dhabi (2019, UAE) - © IJF Gabriela Sabau, International Judo Federation

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