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Ami Kondo wins her first Grand Prix title
25 May 2018 16:00
Olympic bronze medallist Kondo Ami of Japan topped a Grand Prix medal podium for the first time in her career by defeating Paris Grand Slam silver medallist Kang Yujeong (KOR). Kondo, 23, has won the Worlds, a Masters and five Grand Slams and, at her fourth attempt, triumphed on the Grand Prix stage.
Defending champion Kang, 21, had to settle for silver having been caught with 55 seconds left on the clock with a tomoe-nage for a waza-ari score and Kondo cleverly saw out the remaining time. Both judoka have significant domestic rivals for the one respective place at Tokyo 2020 and today’s result suited both of the -48kg finalists in Hohhot as Kang is a new and emerging contender while Kondo has a resume which already has as many pages as a book.
In the first semi-final former Ekaterinburg Grand Slam silver medallist Sabina Giliazova (RUS) fell to Kang in 19 seconds by ippon. In the second semi-final Cancun Grand Prix winner Gabriela Chibana (BRA) shipped a second waza-ari when she failed to escape a hold down from Kondo and the Japanese advanced to the final.
The first bronze medal contest was won by former world champion Munkhbat Urantsetseg (MGL) who tapped out Chibana with her trademark juji-gatame in the first contest of the final block on day one. For Brazil it will be a three-way race for Tokyo 2020 with London 2012 Olympic champion Sarah Menezes (BRA) and world number 17 Koyama Stefannie Arissa (BRA). Menezes lost her opening contest against Julia Figueroa (ESP) by hansoku-make after three shidos.
The second bronze medal was won by world number 13 Shira Rishony (ISR) as Giliazova could not compete due to injury. Rishony picked up her sixth Grand Prix medal to make a positive start to her Tokyo 2020 campaign.
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