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Fujiwara Sotaro wins battle of Japanese youngsters
18 Mar 2018 15:05
Paris Grand Slam winner Fujiwara Sotaro of Japan won his second Grand Slam gold medal in as many months as he defeated compatriot Sasaki Takeshi (JPN) in the U81kg final, the first on day two. Sasaki, 21, only made his senior debut for his country in December at the Tokyo Grand Slam and then fought in Paris before being called upon for his first trip to Russia.
Asian Championships winner Fujiwara, 19, moves into the world’s top 10 for the first time in his career with gold after countering a ko-uchi-gari from his older teammate for ippon.
In the first semi-final Zagreb Grand Prix bronze medallist Antonio Esposito (ITA) narrowly lost out to Fujiwara by a slender waza-ari score. In the second semi-final Saeid Mollaei (IRI) was stunned by Sasaki after 31 seconds by ippon from an uchi-mata.
The first bronze medal was clinched by Mollaei who dismissed familiar opponent and world number one Frank De Wit (NED) with a ko-soto-gake for ippon.
The second bronze medal was won by 2017 Ekaterinburg Grand Slam bronze medallist Zebeda Rekhviashvili (GEO) who repeated the same feat in 2018 by catapulting Esposito through the air in just 15 seconds for ippon with a stunning seoi-otoshi.
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