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Ryunosuke Haga gets new hope for Tokyo
24 Nov 2019 18:10
Former world champion Haga Ryunosuke put the U100kg field on notice as he won his second Grand Slam title and first since 2015. The Olympic bronze medallist, who has been plagued by injuries since Rio 2016, returned to the top of an IJF medal podium after a two-year barren spell by beating Olympic silver medallist Elmar Gasimov (AZE).
World number 114 Haga, who started the day as the fifth-highest ranked Japanese judoka in the weight category, threw world number 15 Gasimov with his favoured uchi-mata for a waza-ari score with 80 seconds left and the Azeri congratulated his opponent in the closing seconds in a light hearted moment which the crowd lapped up.
In the first semi-final world bronze medallist Wolf Aaron (JPN) was shocked by Gasimov who countered the Japanese, who was shaping up for a tani-otoshi attack, with sutemi-waza for ippon and a place in the final.
In the second semi-final Universaide bronze medallist Mukhammadkarim Khurramov (UZB) lost out after a spirited effort against Haga who prevailed by a single waza-ari score.
The first bronze medal was won by Brasilia Grand Slam winner Iida Kentaro (JPN) who recovered from being a waza-ari down to throw Khurramov for ippon with 17 seconds left in the contest with his lethal uchi-mata.
The second bronze medal went to Wolf who hunted down European Games winner Arman Adamian (RUS) as he countered the powerful Russian for a waza-ari score before throwing with his familiar uchi-mata to earn a place on the medal podium.
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