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Ryuju Nagayama puts pressure on Takato
8 Feb 2020 17:50
World number one Nagayama Ryuju (JPN) came through his latest test to lay claim to being in pole position for Tokyo 2020 as his teammate Takato Naohisa will have to wait for his turn to impress in two weeks-time in Germany at the Düsseldorf Grand Slam.
Nagayama went behind against Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist Yago Abuladze (RUS) who held down his Japanese rival after an opening exchange and the Tokai University talent escaped after 14 seconds to remain in the final. The World Judo Masters winner immediately fought back with a morote-seoi-nage for a waza-ari score and then sealed a remarkable and quickfire turnaround by throwing with a ura-nage to capture -60kg gold.
In the first semi-final Nagayama defeated Tel Aviv Grand Prix silver medallist Mihrac Akkus (TUR) by a waza-ari score after a determined showing from the young Turkish judoka.
In the second semi-final Abuladze beat former world champion Yeldos Smetov (KAZ) by a waza-ari score to progress into the first men’s final of the competition.
The first bronze medal contest was won by Smetov who sent Tel Aviv Grand Prix winner KIM Won Jin (KOR) through the air with an enormous ura-nage for one of the ippons of the day.
The second bronze medal contest saw Akkus up against former world silver medallist Dashdavaa Amartuvshin (MGL) and it was the man from Mongolia who sealed a place on the podium from a perfectly timed o-uchi-gari for ippon two minutes into the contest.
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