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First Grand Prix win for former world number one Steenhuis
19 Nov 2017 17:55
Five-time Grand Slam winner Guusje Steenhuis of the Netherlands became a Grand Prix winner for the first time on Sunday as the former world leader defeated Abu Dhabi Grand Slam silver medallist Marhinde Verkerk (NED) in an all-Dutch final. Steenhuis was overlooked for Rio 2016 in favour of Verkerk and it’s only now that the former appears to have banished that from her mind and has regained her focus with Tokyo 2020 and the World Championships 2018 in mind.
There was nothing to separate the arch-rivals in regulation time and golden score was required. A shido for dropping against Verkerk settled the final as both judoka will continue to have a large role to play in the U78kg category next year.
In the first semi-final Steenhuis defeated compatriot and Hohhot Grand Prix silver medallist Karen Stevenson (NED). Steenhuis threw with an o-guruma for a waza-ari score and went back to the same technique for a second waza-ari moments later. Stevenson elected to immediately tap out to the hold down from Steenhuis who advanced to the gold medal contest. In the second semi-final Verkerk beat 17-time Grand Prix medallist Luise Malzahn after four minutes of golden score. A shido against the German for dropping was the difference as the hosts’ dream final came to fruition.
The first bronze medal contest was won by Malzahn who threw Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Anastasiya Dmitrieva (RUS) and then held down the Russian for ippon. Malzahn now has more Grand Prix medals than any judoka after this result in The Hague which provided her 18th medal at this level which is one more than Galbadrakh of Kazakhstan has on her resume. The German judoka scored a waza-ari with an osoto-gari and was never going to lose control of a strong pin as Dmitrieva was well-beaten. The second bronze medal was won by Stevenson who submitted 21-year-old European U23 Championships winner Anna Maria Wagner (GER) with a koshi-jime.
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Peter Scharinger (AUT)
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