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Nagase Takanori survives semi final and takes easy gold
7 May 2016 19:10
At the Grand Slam in Baku World champion Nagase Takanori (JPN) competed for the first time outside of Japan as the world champion and showed no signs of the immense pressure he has on his shoulders as Japan’s pick at -81kg for Rio 2016. Nagase, 22, whose world champion status is indicated by his red backpatch, took bronze at the Tokyo Grand Slam in December following his first world title victory.
He launched his Olympic season in style in Baku as he secured top spot by rushing past European Championships bronze medallist Ivaylo Ivanov (BUL) in 42 seconds by ippon from a ko-soto-gari. The win was the third for Nagase at a Grand Slam and the Japanese fighter will be tipped for success at his first Olympics.
In the first semi-final Nagase was pushed into golden score by Frank De Wit (NED) who is carving out quite the reputation for himself. Junior world champion De Wit was more than comfortable against Nagase and actually went in front with a determined ouchi-gari before level terms were restored when the Japanese fighter conjured up his own waza-ari score with three seconds left. After 53 second of additional time, it was DE WIT who was denied as he was penalised for passivity after a titanic effort in one of the best contests of the day. In the second semi-final Ivanov (BUL) defeated Matteo Marconcini (ITA) with a tai-otoshi earning a waza-ari and the Bulgarian – who was supported to compete in Baku by the IJF – had done enough for a place in the final.
The first bronze medal was won by Marconcini as he submitted Carlos Luz (POR) to achieve a career-best result having trailed to a yuko. Marconcini prevailed with a neatly executed piece of shime-waza while Ivan Felipe Silva Morales (CUB) left De Wit (NED) reeling as the Cuban won the second -81kg bronze medal. The Dutch youngster was ahead with a yuko score until the Cuban fired off a ko-soto-gake for his own yuko and then decided the fate of the contest with a delightful ouchi-gari for ippon and his first Grand Slam medal. As the IJF commentator Sheldon Franco-Rooks alluded to on the live stream De Wit was undoubtedly one of the best performers thus far to leave Baku without a medal.
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Lucile Duport (FRA)
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