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Daria Bilodid wins Paris on her Grand Slam debut
10 Feb 2018 19:00
The Paris Grand Slam 2018, one of France’s blue ribbon sporting events, marked a new chapter for the sport as a new generation of champions emerged at the theatre of judo which is the AccorHotels Arena on Saturday.
Daria Bilodid became the second youngest winner ever in Paris. Only Noriko Mizoguchi was younger in 1988. Bilodid is just a few days younger than 7 time World Champion U48kg Ryoko Tani.
Judo’s first Grand Slam of the new season produced an exhilarating opening day as celebrated stars faced a new flurry of young contenders with a clear passing of the guard in several categories.
Teenagers Daria Bilodid (UKR) and Abe Uta (JPN), who are both just 17, won the -48kg and -52kg categories respectively with star-making performances while a string of countries were able to make history.
European champion Daria Bilodid of the Ukraine won the Paris tournament at her first attempt as the Grand Slam newcomer came away with gold at the first major of the season. World number nine Bilodid, 17, has only once left an international event without a medal (World Championships 2017) and defeated Hohhot Grand Prix winner Kang Yujeong (KOR) with her trademark sankaku-gatame hold down having trailed to a waza-ari from an ippon seoi-nage.
In the first semi-final former World Judo Masters bronze medallist Julia Figueroa (ESP) lost to Kang by ippon in 40 seconds. In the second semi-final world champion Tonaki Funa (JPN) was stunned by Bilodid by ippon after just 65 seconds with a sublime ouchi-gari.
The first bronze medal contest saw Tonaki fall to former world champion Munkhbat Urantsetseg (MGL) after 90 seconds of golden score. Munkhbat, who became Mongolia’s first female world champion in 2013, defeated the reigning world champion - who left the mat multiple times to receive treatment for a cut lip - by ippon.
The second bronze medal contest opposed Tunis Grand Prix bronze medallist Maryna Cherniak (UKR) and Figueroa and there was nothing to separate them in regulation time. After 44 seconds of added time, Cherniak prevailed with a waza-ari score to achieve one of the best results of her career.
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Cecilia Blanco (ESP)