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Funa Tonaki keeps Tokyo 2020 spot open
22 Nov 2019 14:05
Former world champion Tonaki Funa of Japan defeated Marrakech Grand Prix winner Julia Figueroa (ESP) with a professional performance as she scored twice without reply to increase her advantage over the chasing pack in Japan. World number two Tonaki illustrated once again that she is her country’s best judoka in judo’s lightest weight category and is now within touching distance of selection for her first Olympic Games.
Julia Figueroa earned an unexpected silver medal for Spain who were a major force on the opening day in Osaka.
In the first semi-final Tonaki defeated former world champion Kondo Ami (JPN) after seven minutes of golden score. Japanese number one Tonaki gradually outworked her teammate and it was Kondo who picked up her third and final shido for passivity to send the former into the final.
In the second semi-final former world silver medallist Tsunoda Natsumi (JPN) fell to Figueroa after 65 seconds of golden score by a waza-ari score. Tsunoda was making her debut at -48kg on the IJF circuit with the aim of establishing herself as a late contender for Tokyo 2020 but the Spaniard did not read the script and impressively defeated the -48kg newcomer to move into the final.
The first bronze medal contest was won by Tsunoda against 20-year-old Grand Slam debutant Mireia Lapuerta Comas (ESP). Tsunoda medalled in the -48kg category at her first attempt on the IJF World Judo Tour but there was no celebration by the Japanese who needed to win gold to have any chance of Olympic selection at her new weight. Lapuerta Comas was thrown twice but will be pleased with her day’s work and a fifth-place in the sport’s homeland.
The second bronze medal was won by Junior World Championships gold medallist Koga Wakana (JPN) who threw Kondo with a uchi-mata for a waza-ari score and the former world champion elected to submit after landing awkwardly.
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Buhari Yildirim (TUR)