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Shohei Ono back to his best in Düsseldorf
24 Feb 2018 19:15
Olympic champion Ono Shohei of Japan was back to his brilliant best as he won all six contests in Germany to return to the medal podium for the first time since Rio 2016. Ono was matched against silver medallist Rustam Orujov (AZE) in a rematch of the Olympic final and the outcome was the same as the Japanese superstar was back with vengeance after a short-lived comeback at the Tokyo Grand Slam in December.
Shohei Ono, a two-time Düsseldorf Grand Prix winner, could be identified by his gold backpatch which must still be a sore reminder for Orujov, and the greatest world number 60 of all time won his second Grand Slam title by throwing his familiar foe Orujov with an uchi-mata for ippon. Ono, 26, slipped down to 60th place in the rankings due to his inactivity, but recently completed his studies at Tenri University by submitted his dissertation, ‘An Analysis of Osoto-Gari’. The precocious Japanese judoka extended his winning record in Germany to 17-0 while Orujov still looked relatively happy with silver but will have to go back to the drawing board to come up with a new game plan for Ono.
In the first semi-final Orujov defeated former Havana Grand Prix bronze medallist Igor Wandtke (GER) in golden score with a ko-soto-gake for a waza-ari score. In the second semi-final Ono threw world bronze medallist Ganbaatar Odbayar (MGL) twice to win by wazari-awasette-ippon and guarantee his first IJF medal since winning the Düsseldorf Grand Prix in 2016.
The first bronze medal was won by former Samsun Grand Prix bronze medallist Ferdinand Karapetian (ARM) who conquered Ganbaatar after a spectacular tussle. Unseeded Karapetian, who was in a Grand Slam final block for the first time, and his Mongolian rival both had two shidos on their records after one minute of golden score and were on the brink of a third which would have resulted in a disqualification. However, the contest, one of the longest in 2018, was as one of the most exciting clashes of the year so far and the crowd played by their part by energising both men. Karapetian eventually secured a place on the medal podium by ippon after five minutes and 50 seconds of added time.
The second bronze medal went to Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist Tohar Butbul (ISR) who outlasted Wandtke in golden score. Germany were made to wait for their first medal at their new Grand Slam after world number 11 Butbul was awarded the contest after Wandtke was penalised for a third time which was for attacking with a bear hug and the home judoka was disqualified.
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