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Bulgaria’s Ivaylo Ivanov back among the world’s elite
9 Mar 2019 19:50
Bulgarian Ivaylo Ivanov won Marrakech Grand Prix gold to signal his return to the upper echelons of the U81kg weight category. Ivanov countered world bronze medallist Vedat Albayrak (TUR) in the final to capture his third Grand Prix gold medal.
The Bulgarian Tel Aviv Grand Prix silver medallist has now graced the final at both Grand Prix events this year and will be on the verge of breaking into the world’s top 10 after this showing.
In the first semi-final Albayrak proved too strong for former Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Sharofiddin Boltaboev (UZB) who was dismissed after picking up three penalties. In the second semi-final London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Antoine Valois-Fortier (CAN) fell to Ivanov who threw his Canadian opponent with a sumi-gaeshi for a waza-ari score in golden score. Victorious Ivanov went to the equally exhausted Valois-Fortier and lifted him up his feet in a customary act of respect and sportsmanship.
The first bronze medal was won by former Samsun Grand Prix winner Damian Szwarnowiecki (POL) who stunned Valois-Fortier in 53 seconds. Szwarnowiecki opened the scoring with a waza-ari from a ko-uchi-gake and went back to the same technique to wrap up a fine win inside the opening minute.
The second bronze medal went to Tashkent Grand Prix bronze medallist Alexios Ntanatsidis (GRE) who dominated Boltaboev with two waza-ari scores without reply to claim Greece’s second medal on day two in Marrakech.
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