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Finally Noël van ‘t End converts final into elusive gold
17 Mar 2019 15:55
Dutchman Noël van ‘t End finally won Grand Slam gold at his 21st attempt as he defeated two-time World Judo Masters winner Beka Gviniashvili (GEO) in the U90kg final. Osaka Grand Slam silver medallist van ‘t End had five Grand Slam silver medals to his name before the start of day three while Gviniashvili had one title at this level on his record.
After a highly-competitive opening four minutes the Dutchman launched his Georgian adversary with an ippon seoi-nage for a crucial win.
In the first semi-final former world number one Aleksandar Kukolj (SRB) was second best against van ‘t End as he lost after 68 seconds of golden score to a ippon seoi-nage. In the second semi-final GVINIASHVILI held down Cancun Grand Prix bronze medallist Rafael Macedo (BRA) for 20 seconds and ippon.
The first bronze medal was won by Macedo who defeated Düsseldorf Grand Slam bronze medallist Jesper Smink (NED) by a waza-ari score from an o-soto-gari. The second bronze medal went to 2017 Junior World Championships gold medallist Goki Tajima (JPN) against Kukolj. World number 98 Tajima threw his Serbian rival with a ura-nage and held down the former world number one for 10 seconds to seal his victory.
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