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Natsumi Tsunoda sets the tone in Tel Aviv

23 Jan 2020 19:40

 Nicolas Messner - IJF    IJF Gabriela Sabau / International Judo Federation

The Tel Aviv Grand Prix, which opens an exciting Olympic season and whose first day of competition ended with the gold medals obtained by Japan (2), Korea (2) and Slovenia (1).

The first final of the day opposed the winner of the 2018 World Masters, Tsunoda Natsumi (JPN) with the silver medallist of the 2019 World Judo Championships, Shirine Boukli (FRA). At the halfway point, each athlete had been penalised with a shido for avoiding the grip. Not at all impressed by her elder, the young French advanced on Tsunoda, but forgot to attack and was penalised a second time. However, Shirine Boukli has to learn fast at her expense, that the Japanese are particularly precise and strong on the ground. Tsunoda could keep the mask of victory, imperturbable, as she had just applied an unstoppable armlock on which Boukli had to give up.

Bronze medals U48kg

The very first match of the final block, on Day 1 of the Tel Aviv Grand Prix 2020, opposed Tugce Beder (TUR) and Milica Nikolic (SRB). The first to be dangerous was the Serb, performing a drop shoulder movement from which the Turkish judoka escaped at the last moment, to avoid the Waza-ari. More powerful physically, Nikolic seemed to have the measure of her opponent, but was still penalized a first time for passivity, while Beder took the upper hand on the ground. The match was balanced and approached golden score, even though Nikolic was again penalised. It was only after 1:22 of additional time that Tugce Beder found the opening on a counterattack to win the bronze, her first medal at a Grand Prix.

In the second bronze medal contest, 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Csernoviczki Eva (HUN) faced the 2019 Tbilisi Winner Melanie Clement (FRA), who in 2019 defeated the double world champion, Daria Bilodid (UKR). Csernoviczki was quickly penalised because of a prohibited kumi-kata below the belt. The two perfectly fitted guards, between the left-handed Clement and the right-handed Csernoviczki, turned to the advantage of the Hungarian who on the edge of the tatami launched a powerful koshi-guruma, for a first Waza-ari. But keeping all her concentration, Clement followed a few seconds later with a perfect tani-otoshi and a clear ippon.

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  • Natsumi Tsunoda (JPN), Shirine Boukli (FRA) - Grand Prix Tel Aviv (2020, ISR) - © IJF Gabriela Sabau, International Judo Federation
  • Shirine Boukli (FRA), Natsumi Tsunoda (JPN), Tugce Beder (TUR), Melanie Clement (FRA) - Grand Prix Tel Aviv (2020, ISR) - © IJF Gabriela Sabau, International Judo Federation
  • Tugce Beder (TUR) - Grand Prix Tel Aviv (2020, ISR) - © IJF Gabriela Sabau, International Judo Federation

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