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Narankhuu steps up for in-form Mongolia at his 11th Grand Prix
18 Nov 2017 18:10
Mongolian judoka Narankhuu Khadbaatar stepped up a level today as he improved with every contest in The Hague and kept the scoreboard ticking over all day long. Narankhuu needed to show something that we haven’t seen him from before in his previous 10 starts at a Grand Prix to overcome a high-quality and tactful judoka in two-time Grand Prix winner Victor Scvortov (UAE) and he managed that and more.
Former Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix bronze medallist Narankhuu claimed Mongolia’s second gold medal in as many days with a booming ippon-seoi-nage with 56 seconds on the clock to beat Scvortov for the first time and to step up to the top spot on the Grand Prix medal podium for the first time.
In the first semi-final European u23 Championships silver medallist Akil Gjakova (KOS) lost out to Scvortov (U.A.E) who cleverly countered the judoka from Kosovo’s uchi-mata to turn him over for a waza-ari in golden score. In the second semi-final Narankhuu scored three times to beat world number 23 Sam Van ‘t Westende (NED) in a breathless contest. The Mongolian broke the deadlock with a waza-ari from a tomoe-nage before adding a second from a seoi-nage and then concluded proceedings with another seoi-nage, this time for ippon with 21 seconds left.
The first bronze medal was won by Rio 2016 Olympian Tsend-Ochir Tsogtbaatar (MGL) over Van ‘t Westende after exactly one minute of golden score. Two-time Grand Prix bronze medallist Tsend-Ochir, 21, who has moved up not one but two weight categories from U60kg to U73kg since being the surprise pick for Mongolia at the Olympics last year, was on top for the entire contest and did everything except score. In added time Van ‘t Westende was reprimanded with a third shido for passivity as two-time Junior world silver medallist Tsend-Ochir got a pat on the back from Mongolian legend and now coach Khashbaatar Tsagaanbaatar.
The second bronze medal went to world number 59 Anthony Zingg (GER) who bested Gjakova. Zingg was successful in his first audition for a Grand Prix medal as he rolled over Gjakova who had failed with a weak uchi-mata which was also how he lost in his semi-final.
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