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Soichi Hashimoto delivers again and moves up in World Ranking
3 Dec 2016 12:35
Hashimoto Soichi of Japan once again showed the enviable depth of the hosts as the absence of Olympic champion Ono Shohei did not change the destination of the U73kg gold medal.
Ono has missed his home Grand Slam with a right ankle injury but two Japanese judoka still fought their way to the final to compete for the top place on the podium. Hashimoto who was World Judo Masters winner in 2016, showed that he is nobody’s deputy but rather a world-class fighter in his own right as he beat Grand Slam debutant Doi Takeshi , another Japanese athlete 0:2 on shido penalties for the victory and can look forward to a potential world title tilt in 2017.
In the first semi-final 19-year-old Tatsukawa Arata was bested by Hashimoto by the smallest of margins as the contest was decided on shidos with two against the former and one against the top seed. In the second semi-final Doi upset Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Dirk Van Tichelt of Belgium by ippon with a stunning sode-tsurikomi-goshi with 90 seconds left on the clock.
The first bronze medal contest saw two-time world bronze medallist Van Tichelt slip to defeat against 23-year-old Tashkent Grand Prix silver medallist Giyosjon Boboev. The Uzbekistan fighter, who had a taste of Grand Slam silverware in Azerbaijan when he took silver in Baku, threw his Belgian opponent with uchi-mata sukashi for ippon with two minutes remaining.
The second bronze medal went to Tatsukawa in his first senior event as he surprised Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist Musa Mogushkov (RUS). The Japanese teen defeated one of the grittiest judoka in the category with a sumptuous sasae-tsurikomi-ashi after two minutes of golden score.
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Jeffrey Ester (NED)