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Gemma Gibbons shapes form with second gold this year
5 Jul 2015 14:10
Olympic silver medallist Gemma Gibbons produced a much-needed return to form in Ulaanbaatar as the British hero sealed the gold medal against top seed Sarah Myriam Mazouz (GAB). Mazouz started with a good ashi-waza attack but Gibbons, who had already defeated two Japanese judoka in the earlier rounds, countered an attack from her Gabon opponent as she changed her body position to send the former flying to the tatami for ippon.
In the first semi-final Mazouz defeated Asian Championships bronze medallist Yoon, Hyunji (KOR) by ippon after exactly 100 seconds while in the second semi-final GIBBONS outshone Baku Grand Slam silver medallist Ogata Akari (JPN) as the Brit came from behind in a confident performance.
Gibbons, who beat Takayama Rika (JPN) in her opening contest, won by a waza-ari against the much-fancied Ogata to propel herself to the final and sent Ogata into the bronze medal contest.
The first bronze medal was won by former world silver medallist Ogata who was not close to her best today but did enough to come through for a place on the podium. Ogata beat former Asian Championships winner Purevjargal Lkhamdegd (MGL) for bronze as the Mongolian was penalised once while her opponent had an unblemished record in the scoreless contest. The second bronze medal contest was won by 20-year-old Sofia European Open winner Takayama Rika (JPN) against 21-year-old former Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist Yoon. Takayama surged into action and found herself in control in ne-waza as she shuffled into osaekomi for 20 seconds in the form of tate-shiho-gatame for ippon.
Coach and husband Euan Burton is without doubt Gemma’s biggest supporter. “I think he would have been watching. He usually sets the alarm, watches, then goes back to sleep,’ said Gibbons. There have been question marks previously with regard to her fitness and general preparedness to which she answered, “I am happy with my current fitness levels and I’ve been working hard. But there is always room for improvement.” Asked about her contest with Ogata, Gibbons said, “It was an unattractive fight but I was expecting that as she is extreme left.” There is little rest for Gibbons who has her competition programme well planned out. “I’ll be at the British Open this coming weekend, Tyumen the week after that and then the world championships after that,” explained Gibbons. Being an Olympic medallist has drawn a great deal of attention to Gibbons who is expected by some to produce results on a regular basis. “I was unlucky to have picked up injuries in the past and that contributed to some inconsistency in my results. This performance here is what I was striving for, putting together a string of wins, so I’m happy that I’ve been able to do that here that I believe shows that I am on the right track,” said Gibbons. When asked whether London 2012 continues to play a part in her life Gibbons answered, “I think there is a really good team spirit with less stress than London. Of course I think about London from time to time but my focus is on Rio now.”
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