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Romanian Monica Ungureanu grabs a big metal plaque
8 May 2015 17:25
Qingdao Grand Prix winner Monica UNGUREANU (ROU) topped a Grand Slam medal podium for the first time in her flourishing career as she bested Olympic bronze medallist CSERNOVICZKI Eva (HUN). The Grand Slam gold was the first IJF medal of the year for UNGUREANU as she celebrated a notable double. After four minutes of action UNGUREANU and CSERNOVICZKI were tied with two shidos each and the scoreless bout went into golden score.
An additional 24 seconds were required for UNGUREANU to win by ippon when CSERNOVICZKI put her right leg and hip across her opponent who anticipated the attack and turned her over with force for gold.
UNGUREANU said: “I am very happy and I hope I can come back and win gold at the European Games as that is my goal and today was good preparation for me.”
The first semi-final pitted the London 2012 bronze medallists against each other as CSERNOVICZKI Eva (HUN) defeated Charline VAN SNICK (BEL) in a scoreless contest. Top seed CSERNOVICZKI came through with the victory by way of shido penalties as she was penalised once while her Belgian opponent was penalised twice. In the second semi-final Samsun Grand Prix silver medallist Nathalia BRIGIDA (BRA) squared off against UNGUREANU. The contest followed the pattern of the first semi-final as both judoka were unable to create any scoring opportunities and were only separated on penalties. BRIGIDA has made great progress in 2015 as she has tackled Grand Prix, Pan American Open and now Grand Slam events with her usual commitment but was sent into the repechage by the Romanian who had two shidos on her record which was one less than the Brazilian.
The first bronze medal was awarded to BRIGIDA who outworked and outthought Tbilisi Grand Prix silver medallist Julia FIGUEROA (ESP). One of the -48kg protagonists was going to win their first Grand Slam medal and that honour went to the Brazilian who will surge up the rankings to make up substantial ground on Olympic champion Sarah MENEZES (BRA). BRIGIDA attacked with tai-otoshi but FIGUEROA stepped away from it and was penalised with a shido for passivity and received a second for the same indiscretion with a minute remaining.
BRIGIDA said: “I feel so good right now, I’ve never won a Grand Slam medal, it has been a long-time target for me. I think I had a very good competition and I’m very happy. Today’s result is just the start for me.”
The second bronze medal was won by Dusseldorf Grand Prix winner VAN SNICK who kept on track for major honours at the expense of Tbilisi Grand Prix bronze medallist Aurore CLIMENCE (FRA). VAN SNICK, who won her first Grand Slam medal since taking bronze at Moscow 2012, defeated world number 41 CLIMENCE by the narrowest of margins as the scoreless contest was settled by the only shido which was given to the Frenchwoman for passivity with a minute remaining.
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