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Daria Bilodid remains unbeaten against Japanese judoka
8 Feb 2020 17:50
Double world champion Daria Bilodid (UKR) retained her Paris crown with victory over Osaka Grand Slam bronze medallist Koga Wakana (JPN) to improve to 9-0 against Japanese judoka. Bilodid, 19, was lethargic in the earlier rounds as she looked drained and had to dig deep to force her way into the final.
The teenage sensation emerged reenergised and refocused in the final block as she was a comfortable winner over Japan’s latest -48kg project Koga. A waza-ari score from a makikomi effort was the difference for Bilodid who was applauded and celebrated by the capacity crowd. The stock of the 18-year-old Japanese prospect will skyrocket after taking silver in her first Paris Grand Slam but it sends her country back to the drawing board, as they’re yet to find a player who can defeat Bilodid with only several months to go before the Games.
In the first semi-final Bilodid survived a nervy battle against Tel Aviv Grand Prix silver medallist Shirine Boukli (FRA) who forced the Ukrainian wonderkid into golden score. Bilodid showed her character by staying with the task in hand and never folded with the crowd and a new contender against her as she produced the one and only score of the absorbing contest after four minutes of additional time.
In the second semi-final Tel Aviv Grand Prix bronze medallist Melanie Clement (FRA) slipped to defeat against teenage contender Koga who countered the home judoka on the edge of the area for a waza-ari score and held down her opponent for 15 seconds to negotiate her way into the final.
The first bronze medal contest saw Clement throw Brasilia Grand Slam bronze medallist Laura Martinez Abelenda (ESP) for ippon after just 50 seconds to earn the hosts their first medal of the competition.
The second bronze medal contest opposed Boukli and former world champion Munkhbat Urantsetseg (MGL) in a first-time meeting between the two and unsurprisingly the veteran Mongolian prevailed with a trademark juji-gatame for ippon.
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