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Ruika Sato finds a way past world champion Aguiar
25 Feb 2018 18:30
Ruika Sato of Japan won her fourth Grand Slam title with a key win over world champion Mayra Aguiar of Brazil who had to open her season with a silver medal. Sato employed her usual combative style which put her Brazilian rival under pressure from the opening seconds which appeared to unsettle the owner of the red backpatch in the U78kg category.
Tokyo Grand Slam bronze medallist Sato is now a 12-time Grand Slam medallist and the two foes could potentially continue their rivalry in Baku at the 2018 World Championships.
In the first semi-final world bronze medallist Natalie Powell (GBR) lost out to Sato by ippon at the halfway point for a place in the -78kg gold medal contest. In the second semi-final Aguiar defeated Tunis Grand Prix bronze medallist Klara Apotekar (SLO) by the maximum score.
The first bronze medal contest was won by 20-year-old Apotekar who squeezed past former Tyumen Grand Slam bronze medallist Aleksandra Babintseva (RUS) in golden score when the latter was penalised for a third time after two minutes of added time.
The second bronze medal was won by Powell who produced the only score of her contest against World Judo Masters bronze medallist Karen Stevenson (NED) when the Welsh judoka threw the world number eight with a makikomi effort for a waza-ari. Powell is now a four-time Grand Slam medallist and pocketed 500 World Ranking List points as she moved a step closer to recapturing the world number one position.
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