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Chizuru Arai inches closer to Olympic nod
22 Feb 2020 18:35
Former world champion Arai Chizuru (JPN) defeated Cancun Grand Prix silver medallist Gabriella Willems (BEL) to claim her seventh Grand Slam title. Despite an inspired display from the Belgian, Arai found a route past the gutsy first-time Grand Slam finalist after one minute of golden score.
After Ono Yoko won in Paris in scintillating fashion, Arai needed to respond in Germany and did so with a professional display which ended in glory when she caught Willems off guard with te-waza for a waza-ari score.
In the first semi-final Tel Aviv Grand Prix silver medallist Kim Seongyeon (KOR) was surprised by Willems who caught the South Korean for a waza-ari and then held down the vastly experienced judoka with a tate-shiho-gatame to secure an expected place in the final.
In the second semi-final Arai defeated world bronze medallist Margaux Pinot (FRA) by ippon from a trademark uchi-mata.
The first bronze medal was awarded to Pinot who had too much experience for Tel Aviv Grand Prix bronze medallist Ai Tsunoda Roustant (ESP). French judoka Pinot profited from a string of errors by the 17-year-old Spaniard who was penalised for the third time for passivity in golden score as France hit the medal trail on day two.
The second bronze medal was won by Osaka Grand Slam bronze medallist Giovanna Scoccimarro (GER) who capitalised on a mistake by Kim after 67 seconds of golden score. Scoccimarro produced the stronger attacks but it was an error from Kim that led to the hosts claiming their first medal of the competition. Kim failed with a yoko-tomoe-nage as she went over for a waza-ari score and her German rival pounced on the ground to pin down the former for 10 seconds and a place on the medal podium.
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