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Ai Shishime underlines Japanese dominance with gold U52kg
29 Aug 2017 17:25
Ai Shishime completes the Japanese power with gold U52kg. She met Olympic Champion Majlinda Kelmendi in the semi final and defeated the Kosovarian star. Shishime's opponent in the final was Natsumi Tsunoda to whom she lost before, but this time the 23-year old Japanese grabbed the gold. Shishime was Japanese and Asian champion and has her best year in her career.
Ai Shishime won the gold medal, and third for Japan after she launched her teammate Natsumi Tsunoda for ippon. Shishime who had lost to Tsunoda struck after two and half minutes with a left uchi-mata first awarded as wazari but correct to ippon. Shishime is the fifth Japanese to win the world title in this class, Misato Nakamura won three.
Shishime opened her winning campaign with a victory of 2012 Olympic Champion (U48kg) Sarah Menezes and proceeded with a victory over Katinka Szabo and bested Natalia Kuziutina in the quarter final. The surprise was her win against Majlinda Kelmendi. Both had never met before and after nine minutes of fighting it was Shishime who scored the decisive point.
The fight for bronze was between Majlinda Kelmendi and Erika Miranda. They know well have trained with each-other. Miranda was the last one before this World Championships who defeated Kelmendi. She did it again and won her fourth World Championships medal in a row. After her fifth place in Rio a slight compensation. The 30-year old Brazilian still has the world level.
The second bronze was for Natalia Kuziutina who today gave a strong impression and defeated Gili Cohen in her match for bronze. Kuziutina who lost to Shishime in the quarter final came back via a victory over Amandine Buchard in a tough match.
Shishime Ai won her first Grand Prix in 2015 in Mongolia. She multiple Japanese Junior Champion and won the World team title for Juniors with Japan. In 2016 she won the Grand Prix in Düsseldorf and the Grand Slam in Tyumen in 2016 and Asian title. She usually finishes her finals with gold. In December last year she had lost the semi final of the Grand Slam in Tokyo to Tsunoda.
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Martin Hojak (SLO)
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