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Sanne van Dijke learned to force a victory
21 May 2017 14:30
European champion Sanne van Dijke won Grand Slam gold with a come-from-behind win in the final over Alena Prokopenko of Russia. The Russian took an unexpected lead with a waza-ari from a sumi-gaeshi as the vastly-improved Russian tested the mettle of her Dutch opponent.
Tokyo 2020 prospect Van Dijke is currently concentrating on Budapest 2017 and fought back from a waza-ari deficit to tie the contest with nine seconds remaining and moved into osaekomi for the win as the lack of contest management of the home judoka was exposed in the closing seconds.
Van Dijke who had some difficulties to charge herself for this event after her European success was able to grow in to the tournament. “It was a strange tournament, I was second seeded but it doesn’t say anything, the draw was very tough. I never watch a draw but obviously I know they are respected opponents. Still despite a wazari lead for Prokopenko I forced to strike back and that’s the big win of today.”
In the first semi-final Prokopenko beat Tokyo Grand Slam winner Niizoe Saki (JPN) by ippon with nine seconds left on the clock while in the second semi-final Van Dijke beat two-time Grand Slam bronze medallist Aleksandra Samardzic (BIH) by ippon.
The first bronze medal was won by former Budapest Grand Prix bronze medallist Anna Bernholm (SWE) who submitted beaten semi-finalist Samardzic with a juji-gatame. The Swede had lost at this stage at a Grand Slam on five occasions but looks stronger at -70kg and will be a judoka to watch in this category on the road to Tokyo 2020.
The second bronze medal contest was won by Niizoe who had the beating of world silver medallist Maria Bernabeu (ESP). Former Baku Grand Slam winner Bernabeu lost by the smallest of margins as Niizoe prevailed by a waza-ari to win her first Grand Slam medal outside of Japan.
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