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No one is invincible, but Kayla Harrison is close

No one is invincible, but Kayla Harrison is close

26 Jun 2016 22:15
by Mark Pickering - IJF
IJF Media Team / International Judo Federation

Olympic champion and Rio 2016 Olympics top seed Kayla Harrison won her third consecutive competition and retained her 2015 Budapest Grand Prix title with a comfortable victory over Dusseldorf Grand Prix bronze medallist Ana Velensek of Slovenia in the U78kg final.

Harrison, who is still only 25, had hoped fight home judoka and left-handed Joo who has given the American problems in the past but the Hungarian lost her semi-final and instead moved into the bronze medal picture. World Judo Masters winner Harrison was 7-0 against Velensek coming into a repeat of their 2015 Budapest final and the result was the same as the former scored a yuko from a seoi-otoshi and was always in control of the contest without being tested to her limits.

Harrison said she was physically and emotionally spent after a long and gruelling spell of travelling and training in Europe. The American said she felt exhausted. The Budapest Grand Prix could be one of her final judo events.

The first bronze medal was claimed by Havana Grand Prix winner Joo Abigel (HUN) who defeated 18-year-old Junior world silver medallist Klara Apotekar (SLO) as the hosts flourished on the second day in the heavier weight categories. Apotekar, who was fighting in a Grand Prix for only the second time, was thrown for a waza-ari and Joo added two yuko before finishing with a second and match-winning waza-ari.

The second bronze medal contest featured former Samsun Grand Prix bronze medallist and Tokyo 2020 hope Sama Hawa Camara (FRA) and Madrid European Open winner Karen Stevenson (NED). The Dutch fighter won the first Grand Prix medal of her career by ippon after 66 seconds while youngster again appeared to be in some discomfort as she grimaced in pain and held her ribs when entering and leaving the tatami.

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