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Andreja Leski surprises with gold at Grand Slam Düsseldorf
24 Feb 2018 18:30
World number 16 Andreja Leski of Slovenia succeeded where teammate and Olympic champion Tina Trstenjak (SLO) failed as the former was the hero for her country. Leski earned her first Grand Slam victory by besting Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist Tsugane Megumi (JPN) in the U63kg final.
Former rivals represented the judoka with ex-European champion Rok Draksic now in the Slovenian coaching chair while former world champion Akimoto Hiroyuki was influencing the Japanese. Tsugane, who burst on the scene when she won the Tokyo Grand Slam in 2012 as a teenager, was caught for a waza-ari score as the young Slovenian outperformed the young Japanese in addition to her world-renowned colleague.
In the first semi-final Beijing 2008 Olympic bronze medallist Ketleyn Quadros (BRA) fell to Leski by a waza-ari score as the veteran moved down into a bronze medal contest. In the second semi-final Tsugane defeated Asian Championships bronze medallist Bold Gankhaich (MGL) by ippon with two minutes left on the clock after countering a uchi-mata attempt.
The first bronze medal contest was won by Bold who beat world number 191 Maylin Del Toro Carvajal (CUB). Del Toro Carvajal had shocked Trstenjak by throwing twice with uchi-mata to win by wazari-awasette-ippon but had to settle for fifth-place at her first Grand Slam. As both judoka were fighting for a Grand Slam medal for the first time the opening four minutes were closely contested. The fighting spirit of the Cuban and Mongolian foes was appreciated by the crowd who applauded both judoka at the end of the four minutes with more to come in golden score. As Del Toro Carvajal tried to drop under Bold the Mongolian countered to take her opponent back and over for a waza-ari score to win the first medal contest on day two.
The second bronze medal was won by former Paris Grand Slam bronze medallist Kiyomi Watanabe (PHI) who threw Quadros for a waza-ari with a sumi-gaeshi and put pressure on the Brazilian on the ground as the Beijing 2008 Olympic bronze medallist tapped out after picking up a knee injury. Watanabe remains her country’s only Grand Slam medallist and a source of inspiration for the Philippines’ budding judoka.
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