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Haruka Funakubo sets unique series of three Junior world titles
19 Oct 2018 06:30
Funakubo Haruka of Japan remained unbeaten at the Junior World Championships as the Japanese hotshot won the event for the third time. The defending Junior world champion won gold in 2015 and 2017 and this year made her IJF World Judo Tour debut with bronze at the Zagreb Grand Prix in July where the youngster lost on international soil for the first time.
The world number 28 in the senior division defeated Düsseldorf Grand Slam bronze medallist Sarah Leonie Cysique (FRA) in the -57kg final in Nassau with a kesa-gatame for 10 seconds earning a second and match-winning waza-ari.
In the first semi-final contest 2015 Cadet World Championships gold medallist Tomizawa Kana (JPN) was upstaged by Cysique in one of the most anticipated contests of the day. The French starlet threw with a low tai-otoshi for a waza-ari score which was enough for a place in the final after four highly-competitive minutes of judo.
In the second semi-final Zagreb Grand Prix bronze medallist Funakubo defeated Agadir Grand Prix silver medallist Kaja Kajzer (SLO). The Japanese ace opened the scoring with a waza-ari score from a ko-uchi-gari and moved into osaekomi for 10 seconds to advance to the final.
The first bronze medal was claimed by 1st Kyu brown belt Kajzer who beat Junior European Championships bronze medallist Marica Perisic (SRB) after five and a half minutes of golden score. Kajzer profited from a false attack by her Serbian rival who was dismissed with her third shido after nine and a half minutes of total contest time.
The second bronze medal was won by Tomizawa who defeated Düsseldorf Grand Prix bronze medallist Lkhagvatogoo Enkhriilen (MGL) in added time. Mongolian legend Khashbaatar Tsagaanbaatar, the 2004 Olympic bronze medallist and 2009 world champion, was in the coaching chair for former Ulaanbaatar Grand Prix winner Lkhagvatogoo who is ranked number 24 in the world on the senior stage. Tomizawa prevailed by a waza-ari score after 29 seconds of golden score as Mongolia failed to hit the medal trail.
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