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Tonaki on verge of Worlds debut after sealing Grand Prix treble
24 Feb 2017 17:30
Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist Tonaki Funa moved one step closer to World Championships selection after winning the third Grand Prix gold medal of her career. The 21-year-old was unbeatable in Dusseldorf as she won all four contests by ippon including the final against Glasgow European Open bronze medallist Melanie Clement of France. Tonaki, who like many of her lighter Japanese colleagues is masterful on the ground, was able to wrap up her opponent with a mune-gatame for 20 seconds and ippon in the opening minute.
In the first semi-final Clement bested European bronze medallist Monica Ungureanu (ROU) by a waza-ari to guarantee a career-best result. In the second semi-final Tonaki proved too much for Zagreb Grand Prix silver medallist Noa Minsker (ISR) to contend with as the latter received hansoku-make for three shidos with no scores registered.
The first bronze medal contest was won by Minsker who frustrated top seed and U23 European champion Milica Nikolic (SRB). The Israeli was penalised for not taking a grip but finished with a flurry of attacks before countering her in-form opponent for a ura-nage which earned a waza-ari score with 35 seconds left on the clock. There was not enough time left for the Serbian to mount a comeback as the aggressor Minsker deserved to win the second Grand Prix medal of her career.
The second bronze medal was won by Ungureanu who dismissed Casablanca African Open bronze medallist Melodie Vaugarny (FRA). The French judoka was in a Grand Prix medal contest for the first time and was confidently dispatched by her Romanian opponent who, having been penalised with a shido for a leg grab, shaped up for a tani-otoshi attack but also lifted her rival for ippon after just a minute of action.
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Zoe Van der Burgt (NED)