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Natalie Powell takes Tashkent title in strong field
3 Oct 2015 16:00
World judo masters silver medallist Natalie Powell of Great Britain won her second Grand Prix gold medal to solidify her place in the world’s top eight with a come-from-behind victory over Madeleine Malonga. Wales’ commonwealth games winner Powell won her 13th grand prix medal as 21-year-old French woman was beaten for the first time in Tashkent in the U78kg final.
Powell made a bright start as she shook her opponent after just 10 seconds with an ashi-waza attack. However, it was Malonga who scored first with a ko-uchi and ouchi combination for waza-ari. Powell fought back and restored parity with a waza-ari of her own before wrapping up a superb turnaround by holding down her opponent for 15 seconds and the gold medal.
In the first semi-final Powell required added time to see off former Tbilisi grand prix winner Assunta Galeone of Italy. A yuko each was the score after four minutes and British judoka Powell sealed her place in the final 50 seconds later with a yuko effort. In the second semi-final 2013 world champion Sol Kyong came undone against Malonga who produced a waza-ari from a ko-uchi-gari after 20 seconds and held firm to protect her advantage and secure one of the biggest scalps of her career.
The first bronze medal was won by Sol who snatched the spoils in the last five seconds when she launched Minsk european open winner Maike Ziech of Germany to redeem herself after her semi-final blip. The score was tied until that point and with Ziech contemplating the likelihood of golden score her opponent went all out and found a perfect route to the podium. The second bronze medal contest was won by olympic silver medallist Gemma Gibbons who became the second british judoka to defeat Galeone in Tashkent. Gibbons took galeone down - just as the italian was in the process of launching at attack - for a waza-ari before holding her down with tate-shiho-gatame for 15 seconds and the final place on the U78kg medal podium.
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Luke Nooijen (NED)