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Unfancied Russian Antonina Shmeleva grinds out first IJF title
18 Nov 2018 21:35
Russian Antonina Shmeleva won her maiden IJF title to send her country top of the medal table in The Hague. Hohhot Grand Prix bronze medallist Sama Hawa Camara (FRA) came undone on the ground as the Russian secured a kesa-gatame hold and remained there for 20 seconds and U78kg gold.
World number 27 Camara won her sixth Grand Prix medal but her wait goes on for an elusive gold medal which will surely be just around the corner for the young and developing French talent.
In the first semi-final Former Zagreb Grand Prix bronze medallist Shmeleva defeated Glasgow European Open winner Ilona Lucassen (NED) by ippon for a place in the U78kg final. In the second semi-final Camara blasted her way past Cancun Grand Prix bronze medallist Samanta Soares (BRA) with an o-soto-gari for ippon on the edge of the contest area.
The first bronze medal contest was won by Soares after Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist MA Zhenzhao (CHN) was penalised with her third shido after four minutes of golden score. The scoreless contest ended when the Chinese was passive and the world number 26 from Brazil claimed her third Grand Prix medal.
The second bronze medal was won by Lucassen who upstaged 2009 world champion Marhinde Verkerk (NED) by ippon after only 39 seconds. Dutch star Verkerk missed out Grand Prix medal number 11 as world number 78 Lucassen won her first at this level by throwing with a seoi-otoshi for the maximum score.
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