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Bernadette Graf on her way back with second gold

22 Sep 2019 18:00

 IJF Media Department    IJF Marina Mayorova / International Judo Federation

Austria’s Bernadette Graf captured the gold medal at the Grand Prix in Tashkent U78kg. It was her second victory in the IJF World Tour in her “new” weight class U78kg. In total it was her fifth Grand Prix gold medal. Graf wins a World Cup almost each year except last year. This time however she already won twice. Women's coach Patrick Rusch cannot complain about his successful start since the World Championships.

The last match of the category opposed the winner of 2018 The Hague Grand Prix, Antonina Shmeleva (RUS) and the 16 time medal winner on the World Judo Tour, Bernadette Graf. Knowing her subject perfectly, Graf mastered her opponent's with head and shoulders to add a 17th medal to her prize list, by immobilizing the Russian in the second half of the match.

Despite the two shido on her name Karla Prodan (CRO) dominated the first bronze medal contest against Nefeli Papadakis (USA) as she had secured a waza-ari. This is Prodan's second medal on a Grand Prix.

No. 1 seed Natalie Powell of the UK failed to advance to the finals, but she found herself in the position to still be on the podium against Yoon Hyunji (KOR). The match remained uncertain for a long time, with imprecise attacks from one side and the other not allowing either competitor to take the lead. After working on the edge of the competition area, the Korean relaxed too early and was wrapped by the counter of Powell who won the bronze medal and stepped on the podium of a World Judo Tour event for the 28th time.

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  • Bernadette Graf (AUT), Antonina Shmeleva (RUS), Natalie Powell (GBR), Karla Prodan (CRO) - Grand Prix Tashkent (2019, UZB) - © IJF Marina Mayorova, International Judo Federation
  • Bernadette Graf (AUT) - European Games Minsk (2019, BLR) - © Christian Fidler
  • Karla Prodan (CRO) - Grand Prix Zagreb (2019, CRO) - © IJF Aurelien Brandenburger, 	International Judo Federation

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