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Marusa Stangar wins second Grand Prix five years later

Marusa Stangar wins second Grand Prix five years later

26 May 2023 01:45
IJF Media team by Nicolas Messner and JudoInside - Hans van Essen / judo news, results and photos

Slovenian gold medallist U48kg Marusa Stangar (SLO) is far from being an unknown. Already the holder of seven medals on the world circuit and two world junior medals (silver and bronze), she took a career highlight in the TIPS Arena in Linz on Thursday. Her last significant result on the World Judo Tour dates back to November 2022, during the Baku Grand Slam with a bronze medal, and then to 2021 with a third place at the Tbilisi Grand Slam.

This did not seem to bother her too much, as Stangar qualified for the final, having knocked out the number one seed, Francesca Milani (ITA) in the quarter-finals, and Brazil's Natasha Ferreira in the semi-finals.

Shira Rishony, who has been one of the mainstays of the Israeli team for several years, thought she could join Stangar in the final, but she did not count on the fighting spirit of Laura Martinez Abelanda (ESP) who demonstrated the good health of the Iberian team right now.

After only thirty seconds, Laura Martinez Abelanda executed an acrobatic uchi-mata, which was awarded waza-ari. Always first to attack, the Spanish competitor was creating opportunities one after another, while she was also preventing Stangar from building her own system of attack. In judo, though, everything is always possible. Against all odds, the Slovenian judoka pinned Martinez Abelanda for ippon after brilliant work in ne-waza. The gold medal goes to Stangar and Slovenia.

Francesca Milani (ITA) and Shira Rishony (ISR) battled for the first bronze medal. Milani was the first to action with a superb o-soto-gari that caught Rishony by surprise. Despite her efforts the Israeli judoka couldn't manage to score, her seoi-nage attempts remaining unfruitful. The bronze medal went to Milani and Italy, her first medal at a grand prix.

Tomoka Arakawa (JPN) and Natasha Ferreira (BRA) offered themselves the possibility of getting on the podium. In less than 30 seconds, Arakawa took a strong lead with a rolling kata-guruma for waza-ari. Totally overpowered by her opponent, Ferreira was in survival mode until she was caught on the floor with an immobilisation for ippon. Today Arakawa was the stronger of the two, to win her first bronze medal on the World Judo Tour.

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