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Iljana Marzok convinces herself at Grand Prix Qingdao
19 Nov 2014 14:55
The already two-time medallist this year on the occasion of a World Judo Tour event, Assmaa Niang, from Morocco, didn’t encounter any difficulties to enter the final of the category. On her way to the podium, she successively defeated, Batbaatar Khulan (MGL), Wei Chen (CHN) and Zhou, Chao (CHN), all by ippon in less than two minutes.
The second athlete qualified for the final was Iljana Marzok (GER), who had more difficult fights, especially against Bernadette Graf (AUT) in the semi-final. The final started with a slow rhythm, when it suddenly burst into life, Niang, launching a slow motion yoko-sumigeashi movement for waza-ari, followed by an immobilization. The fight looked over, when Iljana Marzok returned the situation to immobilize Niang, who again escaped before being caught but this time for ippon and gold medal for the German.
The first bronze medal fight saw the two Chinese representatives, Yan Zi (CHN) and Zhou Chao (CHN), facing off for only one spot on the podium for the host country. Neither of the two competitors were among the favorites in the morning, but Zhou Chao, easily defeated one of the seeded athletes, Antonia Moreira from Angola, in the first round. It is always difficult to determine the winner when the two fighters are from the same country as they know each other very well and are generally used to training together. But this time it was really easy to designate the winner as Zhou Chao launched a quick uki-otoshi for a crystal clear ippon.
The second bronze medal opposed two European representatives, Maria Bernabeu (ESP) and Bernadette Graf (AUT), who was the top seeded athlete of the category, after her good results this season (silver in Abu Dhabi a couple of weeks ago and winner of the Astana Grand Prix in October). The first half of the fight looked to favour the Spanish judoka, but both competitors always attacked in the same direction and the scoreboard remained blank, until Bernadette Graf suddenly decided to change her direction of attack to score a brilliant ippon with tane-otoshi.
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