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Distria Krasniqi moves the into top 10 after gold in The Hague
17 Nov 2017 18:30
Distria Krasniqi of Kosovo celebrated winning her third Grand Prix gold medal as the 21-year-old can now already count herself as one of the world’s elite judoka in the U52kg category. European U23 Championships winner Krasniqi starred in the absence of her teammate and Olympic champion Majlinda Kelmendi (KOS) who will be a long-term absentee after recently undergoing surgery.
It has always been a disservice to consider the youngster as an understudy or back-up for Kelmendi but rather a world-class judoka in her own right and now she has the opportunity to step out from the considerable shadow of Kosovo’s Rio 2016 flagbearer and double world champion.
Krasniqi defeated Casablanca African Open silver medallist Estrella Lopez Sheriff (ESP) in the -52kg final with a hair-raising performance. The scoreboard was in action after just 10 seconds when the much-fancied Krasniqi scored a waza-ari from an ouchi-gari and then emphatically ended the final by ippon with a thunderous osoto-gari just 24 seconds later.
In the first semi-final Lopez Sheriff outscored 2016 Tyumen Grand Slam bronze medallist Aigul Kutsenko (RUS) by one waza-ari to book a place in the gold medal contest. The Spaniard led with a waza-ari before Kutsenko produced one herself from a ouchi-gari to restore parity. Lopez Sheriff regained the lead with a uchi-mata counter and that ko-soto scored a waza-ari which proved to be the decisive moment of the contest. In the second semi-final Krasniqi downed Tashkent Grand Prix silver medallist Agata Perenc (POL) by a waza-ari from a osoto-gari which came after just 20 seconds.
The first bronze medal was awarded to Abu Dhabi Grand Slam gold medallist Charline Van Snick (BEL) who defeated Perenc to continue her rich vein of form in the -52kg category. Belgium’s top seed opened the scoring with a waza-ari from a sode-tsurikomi-goshi. With just a single second left on the clock Perenc fought back to bring the scores level as she countered Van Snick with a ko-soto-gake. London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Van Snick quickly trapped her Polish opponent on the ground for 20 seconds and ippon.
The second bronze medal was won by former U48kg world champion Munkhbat Urantsetseg (MGL) who submitted former Tyumen Grand Slam bronze medallist Kutsenko. Munkhbat scored two waza-ari from textbook sode-tsurikomi-goshi throws before showcasing her ne-waza as she created the opening for a juji-gatame to end the contest and book a place on the medal podium.
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