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Soichi Hashimoto hat-trick in Paris
8 Feb 2020 19:30
Former world champion Hashimoto Soichi of Japan lived up to his billing as the top seed by defeating three-time Grand Prix winner Zhansay Smagulov (KAZ) to win the -73kg final. The Paris crowd saw Hashimoto crowned the champion for the third time as he repeated his 2017 and 2019 wins to be the last man standing from a field of 76 judoka.
The Japanese number two countered a modified kata-guruma with te-waza for a waza-ari score with 40 seconds remaining to record back-to-back gold medals on the IJF World Judo Tour.
In the first semi-final Hashimoto drew a host of errors from world number 10 Bilal Ciloglu (TUR) who came up short against the Japanese thrower as he lost out by hansoku-make.
In the second semi-final Rio 2016 Olympian Tsend-Ochir Tsogtbaatar (MGL) lost a high-scoring contest against Smagulov who initially led by a waza-ari before his Mongolian rival restored parity before going over for ippon.
The first bronze medal was won by Tsend-Ochir who recorded one of the finest wins of his career by beating Japanese legend Ebinuma Masashi. Double Olympic bronze medallist Ebinuma, who could very well have graced Paris for the final time in his illustrious career, lost control of his opponent and was penalised for a false attack in added time which was his third infringement.
The second and last male bronze medal contest was won by world number 15 Khikmatillokh Turaev (UZB) who stormed past Ciloglu inside 10 seconds after a stunning o-soto-ko-soto combination which had the crowd gasping in awe.
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