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Lola Benarroche takes gold at World Tour level as well

23 Sep 2016 22:45

 by Mark Pickering - IJF    Carlos Ferreira CJF / Croatian Judo Federation

Lola Benarroche is in super shape. The French middleweight defeated Tyumen Grand Slam silver medallist Daria Mezhetckaia of Russia in the U57kg final in the last contest on day one in Zagreb. Benarroche had never medalled on the IJF stage but that was not evident today as she looked comfortable under the gaze of IJF World Judo Tour and every single movement was calculated.

The former Junior World Championships bronze medallist from Russia was aiming to win her first gold medal on the IJF circuit but Madrid European Open winner Benarroche had other ideas as she broke the deadlock with a yuko from a tani-toshi and added a second score six seconds from time with a osoto-gari as the winner showed her best judo to top the podium for in-form France.

In the first semi-final Tallinn European Open silver medallist Bekky Livesey of Great Britain was held down by Benarroche for 15 seconds as she lost out by waza-ari awasette-ippon. In the second semi-final Mezhetckaia won an all-Russian duel against Tyumen Grand Slam bronze medallist Natalia Golomidova (RUS) via uchi-mata.

The first bronze medal was won by Golomidova who swept aside Warsaw European Open silver medallist Sappho Coban of Germany with ease. The 22-year-old German had been in this position twice before and on both occasions finished fifth at Grand Prix and achieved an unwanted hat-trick today as Golomidova graced the IJF Grand Prix medal podium at her first attempt. The Russian chalked up three yuko scores and was registering at will as Coban was off the pace with no sign of her trademark uchi-mata. A fourth and final score came just before the time elapsed in the form of a waza-ari from ashi-waza as Golomidova comprehensively captured bronze. The second bronze medal was won by Livesey who saw off Dubrovnik European Cup winner Johanna Mueller (GER) to earn Great Britain’s second medal on day one. Former Grand Prix silver medallist and former Grand Prix bronze medallist Mueller was undone by two waza-ari scores as St Helens product Livesey scored with a tani-otoshi before countering her German foe with a osoto-makikomi to win by wazari awasette-ippon.

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  • Lola Benarroche (FRA), Daria Mezhetskaia (RUS) - Grand Prix Zagreb (2016, CRO) - © Carlos Ferreira CJF, Croatian Judo Federation
  • Lola Benarroche (FRA), Daria Mezhetskaia (RUS), Natalia Golomidova (RUS), Bekky Livesey (GBR) - Grand Prix Zagreb (2016, CRO) - © Carlos Ferreira CJF, Croatian Judo Federation
  • Lola Benarroche (FRA) - Grand Prix Zagreb (2016, CRO) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation

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