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Chizuru Arai grabs third Grand Slam victory U70kg
17 Jul 2016 17:05
Japanese Arai Chizuru won the third Grand Slam gold medal of her career with a typically convincing display on Saturday as she defeated Warsaw European Open bronze medallist Valentina Maltseva of Russia in the U70kg final in Tyumen.
Arai, Former World Judo Masters bronze medallist, took the lead with a yuko before trapping her overmatched opponent with a yoko-shiho-gatame for 20 seconds and ippon. The 22-year-old Arai could not usurp Tyumen Grand Slam winner Tachimoto Haruka (JPN) in the battle for a place at Rio 2016 but could be considered the early favourite Tokyo 2020.
The first bronze medal was won by Budapest Grand Prix winner Elvismar Rodriguez (VEN) as she beat former Astana Grand Prix silver medallist Anna Bernholm (SWE) who was making her -70kg debut having moved up from -63kg. Rodriguez has been a revelation in the latter stage of this Olympic cycle and became her country’s first Grand Slam medallist on shido penalties with two being given against the Swede and one against the former. The second bronze medal contest featured 18-year-old Aleksandra Samardzic (BIH) who disposed of African Championships bronze medallist Antonia Moreira (ANG) with aplomb. Samardzic trailed to a yuko which her Angolan opponent scored with a right-sided ouchi-gari yuko before firing back with a waza-ari. The teenager was not done there as she threw her African opponent for the maximum score with a sweep on the edge of the tatami.
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