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Japan takes one gold medal in Tunis via Mao Izumi

21 Jan 2018 16:45

 by Mark Pickering - IJF    IJF Gabriela Sabau / International Judo Federation

Izumi Mao signed for the only gold medal for Japan this weekend at the Grand Prix in Tunis. Karen Stevenson of the Netherlands who finished on the third step of the podium at the World Masters of Saint Petersburg at the end of the last season, faced Izumi Mao, whose best result so far was a gold medal at the European Open in Sofia in 2017.

After 30 seconds in the contest, Stevenson was penalised with a first shido as she was totally dominated by the Japanese. During the following sequence, Izumi attacked for no score, but in a pure Japanese style, used that attempt to follow on the floor with an immobilisation for ippon, winning her first Grand Prix gold medal and the the first gold medal for Japan at the Tunis Grand Prix.

In this category, while France has two athletes in the top 10 in the world (Audrey Tcheumeo 5th and Madeleine Malonga 7th) it was a young athlete who was engaged in the Grand Prix as Chloé Dollin, European Junior bronze medalist in 2017, was opposed to Niurguiana Nikiforova (RUS), with no real reference at the international level. The Russian was quickly penalised for a false attack, which offered some extra-energy to the French, who was easily controlling her opponent. Half way to the end, she caught Nikiforova on the floor and after having taken her leg out, she immobilized her for ippon. This is the first medal for Chloé Dollin at that level.

For second place on the podium, Tunisia hoped for Sarra Mzougoui to open her medal count. Opposed to the Junior European Champion 2017, Apotekar, Klara (SLO), she had all the cards in hand to thrill the audience of the El Menzah Sports Palace. After 1:30 Apotekar was penalised with a shido for pushing down Mougoui, who was then also penalised for passivity. 47 seconds from the end the Tunisian was penalised again for a false attack and just five seconds to the end the last penalties were given, two for Apotekar, but three for Mzougoui, synonymous of disqualification for her and bronze medal for Apotekar.

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  • Karen Stevenson (NED), Mao Izumi (JPN) - Grand Prix Tunis (2018, TUN) - © IJF Gabriela Sabau, International Judo Federation
  • Karen Stevenson (NED), Mao Izumi (JPN), Klara Apotekar (SLO), Chloe Dollin (FRA) - Grand Prix Tunis (2018, TUN) - © IJF Gabriela Sabau, International Judo Federation
  • Mao Izumi (JPN) - Grand Prix Tunis (2018, TUN) - © IJF Gabriela Sabau, International Judo Federation

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