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Nami Nabekura shows good form with gold in Qingdao
19 Nov 2016 18:40
Japanse Nabekura Nami won her second Grand Prix gold medal as she came through her latest test with a glowing display. The Japanese fighter, one of the best prospects in Asia, collided with British European U23 Champion Lucy Renshall in an exciting contest which could become a fascinating rivalry on the senior stage over the coming years.
The judoka were led by an all-star coaching cast in London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Ueno Yoshie who was coaching the Japanese while Seoul 1988 Olympic bronze medallist Dennis Stewart (GBR) coached the Briton. Nabekura, Budapest Grand Prix winner, attacked with conviction as her osoto-gari and ne-waza turnovers looked dangerous but it was her uchi-mata which provided Japan’s first gold medal in Qingdao as she scored a yuko in golden score.
In the first semi-final World Judo Masters bronze medallist Yang Junxia (CHN) was tamed by Nabekura by a single shido in a scoreless content as the young Japanese judoka showed complete composure and poise. In the second semi-final Orenburg European Cup silver medallist Valentina Kostenko (RUS) lost out to the in-form Renshall in golden score. Renshall, who came through the ranks of SKK Judo Club in St Helens, scored a waza-ari in added time with a strong hip technique to move into the gold medal contest.
The first bronze medal was won by Myung Ji-Hye (KOR) who won her first IJF World Judo Tour medal against Kostenko. The South Korean fighter opened the scoring with a driving ouchi-gari which earned a waza-ari before Kostenko replied with an osoto-combination for a yuko with just 12 seconds left and the Korean held on. The second bronze medal was won by world bronze medallist Tsedevsuren Munkhzaya (MGL) who defeated Yang by a yuko from a harai-makikomi which was the only score of the contest. World number 14 Tsedevsuren was not at her best as she fought for the first time since Rio 2016 but still had the quality and experience to find a way onto the medal podium.
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