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Sagi Muki secures hero status with sensational gold
25 Jan 2019 19:25
European champion Sagi Muki of Israel produced the throw of the tournament so far as he catapulted the unsuspecting Ivaylo Ivanov (BUL) through the air with a textbook sode-tsurikomi-goshi in the U81kg final in Tel Aviv. Italy temporarily claimed top spot in the medal table after hitting the medal trail on day two but man of the moment Muki provided the crowd with a magical finish to win his country’s third gold medal at their home Grand Prix.
The Hague Grand Prix winner Ivaylo Ivanov (BUL) was expected to offer a stern challenge in what appeared to be a well-matched final on paper but Muki was in no mood to wait around and dismissed the Bulgarian in just 56 seconds.
In the first semi-final Cancun Grand Prix winner Sami Chouchi (BEL) lost out to Muki by ippon in the most eagerly-awaited contest in the opening session. Muki shook his opponent with an o-soto-gari and stylishly finished with a tani-otoshi to secure a place in the U81kg final.
In the second semi-final Junior World Championships winner Christian Parlati (ITA) was undone by Ivanov who has rediscovered his form at a crucial time in the qualification race for Tokyo 2020. Bulgaria’s Ivanov prevailed by ippon as Parlati slipped down into a bronze medal contest.
The first bronze medal was won by Parlati who defeated Junior European Championships bronze medallist and IJF newcomer Murad Fatiyev (AZE) as Italy’s staggering run went on during day two. Parlati took his career to new heights by winning his first IJF senior medal as Fatiyev was disqualified in golden score after accumulating three penalties.
The second bronze medal went to Chouchi who threw Zagreb Grand Prix bronze medallist Anri Egutidze (POR) after just 37 seconds for ippon with an emphatic o-soto-gari. Belgium talent Chouchi won his second Grand Prix medal to solidify his place among the world’s top judoka on the IJF World Ranking List and will be one to watch in the Paris Grand Slam in two weeks time.
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Marit De Winter (NED)