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Flourishing Florian flows forward on Grand Slam stage for Romania
10 Mar 2017 18:20
Two of the brightest prospects in the U52kg category were matched against each other in the final in Baku as 20-year-old former Junior European champion Pupp Reka of Hungary faced Düsseldorf Grand Prix bronze medallist Alexandra-Larisa Florian of Romania.
Florian, 21, dictated the pace from the very first exchange and was able to throw with her favoured uchi-mata for a waza-ari. The Romanian, who started as the number two seed, was positive all day long and reaped the rewards for her first Grand Slam win and second successive medal on the IJF World Judo Tour.
In the first semi-final world number seven Gili Cohen (ISR) was thwarted by Pupp by ippon as the Hungarian overcame the top seed with minimal resistance. In the second semi-final Florian (ROU) came out on top against London 2012 Olympic champion Sarah Menezes (BRA) as the latter received three shidos and was disqualified. Florian could not hide her pleasure as she was all smiles when she bowed to her opponent and walked off the tatami to be congratulated by her coach having guaranteed her first Grand Slam medal.
The first bronze medal was clinched by Tunis African Open silver medallist Anja Stangar (SLO) who dismissed Menezes by a waza-ari from a drop seoi-nage. The 21-year-old’s first Grand Slam appearance was a successful one and it came against the decorated Brazilian who is still adjusting to her new weight having moved up from -48kg.
The second bronze medal was won by London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Charline Van Snick (BEL) who showed off her ne-waza precision to capture her first IJF medal at her new weight. Van Snick, 26, who moved up from -48kg in December, submitted Cohen with a juji-gatame.
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Tommy Macias (SWE)
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