Grand Slam gold for Funa Tonaki: judo analysis
Funa Tonaki (JPN) displayed deftness in both newaza and tachi-waza at the Kazan Grand Slam which she won handily. She won her first match, against Aliyeva (AZE) with a leg insertion koshi-jime, which is more commonly used by European players. Most Japanese players tend to do the more traditional form of koshi-jime where you don't insert the leg and don't roll uke over. Rather, you just grab uke's leg and do a clockwise turn to execute the strangle (which is why it is called the "clock choke" in BJJ).
Against Milani (ITA) Tonaki again used groundwork for the win. She found herself on top of the Italian player but with one of her legs tightly entangled. The Italian was determined not to let that leg get free. But as Neil Adams regularly says, the Japanese are experts at disentangling their legs and it's not often that they don't free their legs. Tonaki proved this to be true. Although it took her a while, eventually she freed her legs and clamped on what is known in the UK as "mune-gatame". This is not a Kodokan-recognized technique, which regards it as a form of yoko-shiho-gatame.
Next, Tonaki used a drop tai-otoshi against Rishony (ISR). Again, this is rather unusual as the drop tai-otoshi is typically associated with Korean and European players. She did it really well though and spun the Israeli player flat on her back. For good measure, Tonaki clamped on a mune-gatame but it was not necessary as ippon was called.
In her final against Dolgova (RUS), she used a sticky-foot kosoto, which was initially scored waza-ari. But as the Russian player landed only on one elbow, that score was cancelled. It didn't matter though as Tonaki had immediately clamped on a yoko-shiho-gatame. As Dolgova writhed about aggressively, Tonaki switched into kami-shiho-gatame and held her for the full 20 seconds.
Tonaki seems to be growing from strength to strength. Previously she had lost to Daria Bilodid (UKR) four times in a row but in their last encounter, at the Doha World Masters in January, she defeated Bilodid.
Her main challenger now would appear to be Krasniqi (KOS) who also seems to be growing stronger by the day. They had fought in the final of the Doha World Masters, where Tonaki was thrown by the Kosovan with uchimata for waza-ari.
Neither Bilodid nor Krasniqi was in Kazan. It will be interesting to watch Tonaki's next match up with these two.