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Samuel Hall first British male judoka to take Grand Prix gold since 2015

Samuel Hall first British male judoka to take Grand Prix gold since 2015

24 Sep 2021 19:10
IJF Media Department - Hans van Essen / judo news, results and photos

26 year old Samuel Hall (GBR), silver medallist at the 2015 European Junior Championships, is part of a generation of athletes who already have a little experience, without having yet really broken through at the international level and who came to Zagreb to test themselves on the world circuit at the start of this new cycle.

That was a good idea for Hall, since he climbed to the final, where he met the Italian, two years younger than him, Angelo Pantano, European junior champion in 2014.

It was with a slow-motion hip movement that Pantano scored a waza-ari to take the lead. Calmly but surely, Hall remained concentrated to eventually catch his opponent on the floor and push him to submit with a hadaka-jime for ippon and a beautiful first victory for him in a grand prix.

Jolan Florimont, a two time gold medallist at continental open level, could be one of those promising French athletes who might shine in the future. In the first bronze medal contest he faced another athlete with no record on the World Judo Tour, David Starkel of Slovenia. Even though Florimont always seemed a little dominated and behind in terms of rhythm, he was actually the one who was the most dangerous and an opportunist to score two clear waza-ari to win his first grand prix medal.

The second bronze medal contest saw a veteran, compared to the other competitors of the category, Vincent Limare, facing the 20 year old Matan Kokolayev of Israel. With one silver medal at the World Judo Masters and two Grand Slam medals to his name, Limare was a runner-up for the last Olympic qualification, missing out on a selection for Tokyo. Will this new cycle smile on the light weight Frenchman? Despite only a shido displayed on the scoreboard, the two athletes offered a really good match, full of action and acrobatic moves but that was not enough to discern a difference and a golden score period was necessary to determine the winner.

After 1 minute 47 seconds, Limare eventually found the solution to score a liberating waza-ari. This is the third medal in a grand prix for the French judoka and a really good comeback at the top level.

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