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Japan’s number three Tsunoda clinches Guangzhou gold
15 Dec 2018 12:00
Tsunoda Natsumi of Japan defeated world bronze medallist Amandine Buchard (FRA) to win the -52kg title in China. Osaka Grand Slam silver medallist Tsunoda, who in the domestic pecking order is behind world champion Abe Uta and world silver medallist Shishime Ai (JPN), turned Buchard over and onto her back with a sumi-gaeshi.
France’s Buchard matched her result from 2017 while Tsunoda jumped from seventh to first and remains in the shuffle for her country on the road to Tokyo 2020.
In the first semi-final Buchard benefited from an error-strewn display from The Hague Grand Prix winner Charline Van Snick (BEL) who received hansoku-make after being reprimanded three times. In the second semi-final European champion Natalia Kuziutina (RUS) narrowly lost out to Tsunoda by a waza-ari score which was the only time the scoreboard was called into action.
The first bronze medal contest opposed Abu Dhabi Grand Slam bronze medallist Gili Cohen (ISR) and Kuziutina. Russia’s inspirational Kuziutina, who is by far the most accomplished member of her country’s women’s team, submitted her opponent with a juji-gatame for ippon and her fourth World Judo Masters medal.
In the second bronze medal contest Van Snick subdued Tashkent Grand Prix silver medallist Evelyne Tschopp (SUI) with shime-waza. Eight-time Grand Prix winner Van Snick opened her World Judo Masters medal account with a highly valuable bronze to strengthen her position inside the world’s top 10 and will be one of the judoka to pay attention to at U52kg in 2019.
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Mark Shaw (GBR)